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Revegetating slag refuse areas with native warm season grasses


Our study was designed to determine how topsoil and fertilizer supplements affect the establishment of native warm season grasses on a northwestern Indiana slag refuse site. We seeded a mix of 5 locally collected warm season grass species (big bluestem, Andropogon gerardii Vitman; little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash; indiangrass, Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash; prairie sandreed, Calamovilfa longifolia (Hook.) Scribn.; switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L.) to plots with and without topsoil additions; split plots were either treated with a balanced fertilizer at 1120 kg/ha (1000 lb/ac) or left unfertilized. Adding topsoil to slag significantly (P < 0.05) increased the percent foliar cover, number of warm season grass plants, percentage of warm season grasses, and relative effectiveness rating for improving wildlife habitat and aesthetic value compared to non-amended slag. No significant differences (P > 0.05) were found between fertilized and non-fertilized plots. Based on comparisons between individual seeded warm season grasses, little bluestem had the highest plant counts relative to its proportion in the mix and exceeded expectation (P = 0.1) across all seeded treatments.

Issue & Pages:

Fall 2000 Pages: 77-81

Article Download:

1-2NPJ77-81.pdf (PDF document)


  • Tony Bush
  • Phil Koch


Poaceae, reclamation, fertilizer, seedling

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