View and Print this Publication - Organic and inorganic amendments affect vegetation growth on an acidic minesoil by ForestService


									United States
Department of
Forest Service
Experiment Station
                        ~ n a Acidic Minesoi
Research Paper NE-502

                        William T. Plass
The Author
      William T. PIass received a B.S.
degree in farestry from Iowa State
University in 1948 and an M.S. de-
gree in silviculture from the Uni-
versity of Missouri in 1959. He
joined the USDA Forest Service in
1948, and served in several research
capacities relating to timber man-
agement and the silviculture of cen-
tral hardwoods. From 1962 until his
retirement in 1979, Plass was as-
signed to the Northeastern Forest
Experiment Station's surface-mine
restoration research unit.
Manuscript received
for publication 8 May 1981

      Organic amendments can be in-
 cluded in minesoil revegetation
 treatments to produce high-density
 ground covers or increase the yield
 of pasture and forage crops. They
 may provide an alternative to the
 "topsoiling" requirements under
 current surface-mining laws and
 regulations. In this study, shredded
 hardwood bark, composted munici-
 pal waste, and a tannery waste were
applied to an acidic minesoil. Sup-
plemental inorganic amendments in-
cluding fertilizer, agricultural lime,
and an alkaline waste from an SO2
scrubber system were applied alone
and in combination with the organic
amendments. Treatment compari-
sons were based on vegetation re-
sponse and chemical and physical
characteristics of the minesoil after
treatment, Organic amendments are
not required for establishing vegeta-
tion though some reduced the time
required to produce an acceptable
cover. Site characteristics, land use
objectives, and the availability of or-
ganic materials determine the ap-
propriate amendment for a specific
                                          Figure I .-Estes aerospreader applying municipal waste,
      Nutrient availability, micro-
biological activity, and moisture effi-
ciency are directly and indirectly af-
fected by the organic matter in a
soil. Organic matter is an important
component of productive forest
soils. Many of the less productive
forest soils in the coal-producing re-
gions of the Appalachians have rela-
tively low percentages of organic
matter. Fresh minesoils generally
are deficient or lacking in this valua-
ble component.

     Previous research has been
concerned with the use of organic
materials as amendments for toxic
spoils where other treatments have
failed. The use of sewage sludge,
manure, and composted municipal
waste has been successful to some
degree in revegetating toxic spoils
(Sspper and Mardos 1972; Sopper et
al. 1974; Sutton 1973; Lejcher and
Kunkle 1974; Scanlon et al. 1973).

     The successful revegetation of
thousands of acres of nontoxic
minesoil with inorganic fertilizer
(with or without lime) demonstrates       posted municipal waste, and tan-           It is an alkaline material with a high
that organic amendments are not           nery waste, represent a wide range         moisture content and the consisten
essential. However, it is believed        of physical properties and chemical        cy of fresh manure.
that a high-density herbaceous            composition. Shredded hardwood
cover can be produced in less time        bark is a waste product from saw-               Shredded hardwood bark was
and that yields of pasture and for-       mills using debarkers. The bark is         applied at a rate equivalent to 30 to
age crops will be higher when or-         processed by passing it through a          40 cubic yards per acre, csmpostctd
ganic amendments are used. It has         shredding machine that reduces the         municipal was& at 7 to 10 tons per
been suggested that organic amend-        bark fragments to a more uniform           acre, and tannew waste at 7 to 10
ments provide an alternative to the       size. Bark from many species of Ap-        tons per acre, air-dried weight. The
"topsoiling'?requirements under           palachlan hardwoods may be in-             bark and the municipal waste were
current surface-mining laws and           cluded but the oaks probably repre-        applied witk an Estesl aerospreader
regulations.                              sent the greatest volume.                  (Fig. 1). The tannery waste was
                                                                                     spread by hand; however, a conven-
      In this study, shredded hard-            Cornposted municipal waste            tionail manure spreader would be
wood bark, composted municipal            contains all materials commonly            more efficient for spreading tannew
waste, and tannery waste were ap-         found in municipal garbage, includ-        waste on large acreages,
plied and disced into an acidic           ing glass and plastics, A process
minesoil. We compared vegetation          that includes shredding, grinding,              A split-plot experimental design
response and chemical and physical        and composting produces a granu-           was selected FOP this study. Each of
characteristics of the minesoil after     lar product. The compssling proc-          the organic amendments and an un-
these organic amendments had              ess minimizes or eliminates paths-         treated c ~ n t r owere randomly as-
been applied. Fertilizer, agricultural    genic hazards. Potential plant and
lime, and an alkaline waste from an       animal toxicities are cantralled by
801: scrubber system were evaluated       excluding industrial wastes,                  P k e use of trade, firm, or csr oration
as supplemental amendments.                                                         names in this paper is for the inhrma-
                                               Tannepy waste contains the           tion and convenience of t h e reader. S u c k
                                          organic residues andthe                   US@ does not constitute an official en-
Materials and Methods                                                               do'sement                  by the V.Sv De-
                                          effluents from a tannery. This efflu.     partment of Agriculture or the Forest
    f Re three organic amendments,        ent is discharged into settling           Sewice sf any product or service to the
shredded hardwood bark, come              ponds to allow the solids to settle.      exclusion of others t h a m a y be suitable.
signed to one plot in each of three       Figure 2.-The study area after municipal waste and shredded bark had
 blocks. Each block had one com-          been applied.
 mon side with another block. The
 plots were subdivided into four sub-
plots. Three inorganic amendment
treatments were randomly assigned
to three subplots. The fourth sub-
plot was not treated with inorganic
amendments. Diammonium phos-
 phate fertilizer (18-46-0) was ap-
 plied at a rate of 300 pounds per
acre alone, and in combination with
 lime and scrubber waste. Agricul-
tural limestone, the second in-
organic amendment, represents a
treatment often recommended for
acidic minesoils. The third inorganic
amendment, scrubber waste, was a
waste product from an SO2 scrub-
 bing system for a coal-burning elec-
tric generating plant. In this system,
 limestone is used to remove SO2
and other pollutants. The limestone
 must be replenished periodically
and the residual material represents
a large volume of industrial waste. It
was included in the study to deter-
mine its potential for mined-land
reclamation. The limestone and
scrubber waste had similar calcium
carbonate equivalents and both
were applied at a rate of 3 tons per          Species           Pounds per acre    mated. These two estimates were
acre.                                                                              used to obtain the percentage of
                                           "K-31" tall fescue         10           each quadrat covered by legumes.
     The study area is located on a
relatively flat bench on a surface         Orc hardgrass               5
mine in Randolph County, West Vir-         Red clover                  3                At the end of the first growing
ginia (Fig. 2). A coarse-textured          Alsike clover               2           season, the bulk density of the sur-
shale and sandstone overburden             Kobe lespedeza              5           face 6 inches was determined by.
was top-dressed with 4 to 6 inches         Birdsfoot trefoil           5           the rubber-balloon method. Water-
of soil. The top-dressing was a mix-       Crownvetch                  3           holding capacity and total pore
ture of the B and C horizons from a                                                space were determined by conven-
forest soil. Little or no A horizon          The study was established in          tional laboratory methods for soil
was found at this site. This pro-        May 1977. During the first three          particles 2 mm or less in size.
cedure is typical of many mining         growing seasons, vegetative yield
operations in West Virginia. Labora-     was determined by clipping a 4 ft2             After three growing seasons, a
tory analyses of this top-dressing       quadrat within each subplot. The         sample was collected of the surface
showed that pH ranged from 3.7 to        green weight of all living plants was    6 inches of minesoil in each subplot
4.4 and that there was a deficiency
                                         used to compare vegetation re-           to compare selected chemical char-
of phosphorus. The soil texture was      sponse to treatments.                    acteristics. Specific conductance
sandy loam to sandy clay loam.                                                    and pH were determined by conven-
                                              Prior to the third clipping, the    tional methods in which a spoil and
    The organic and inorganic            percent ground cover within each         distilled water mixture are used.
amendments were applied, the plots       quadrat was estimated. The percent-      Available phosphorus was deter-
were disced, and the following seed      age of the total ground cover con-       mined by the Bray No. 1 extractant
mixture was sowed:                       tributed by legumes was then esti-       solution. The titration method devel-
     oped by Yuan was used to deter-                        After two growing seasons,                    Plots treated with lime and
     mine exchangeable acidity and                     there was a significant difference in        fertilizer and scrubber waste and
     aluminum. Available calcium, mag-                 yield between plots treated with             fertilizer had significantly higher
     nesium, and potassium were deter-                 organic amendments. Neither the in-          yields than fertilizer alone or the
     mined by atomic absorption                        organic amendments nor the inter-            control. Although there was no sig-
     methods.                                          action between organic and inor-             nificant difference in yield between
                                                       ganic amendments significantly af-           the lime and fertilizer and scrubber
                                                       fected yield. The yields were high-          waste and fertilizer plots, the lime
     Results                                           est on plots treated with municipal          and fertilizer treatment had consis-
                                                       and tannery waste. Both treatments           tently higher yields than the scrub-
     Vegetation Response
                                                       had significantly higher yields than         ber waste fertilizer treatment.
          The green weights of all plant               the shredded bark treatment or the
     materials removed from each quad-                 control, but there were no signifi-               There were significant differ-
     rat at each clipping date were used               cant differences between treat-              ences in yield between replications
     to compare vegetative response to                 ments. The shredded bark plots had           during the third growing season.
     the organic and inorganic treat-                  significantly higher yields than the         Chemical characteristics of the
     ments. Analysis of variance and                   control plots.                               minesoil showed the replication
     Duncan's multiple range test were                                                              with the lowest yield had signifi-
     used to analyze the data.                              During the third growing sea-           cantly lower exchangeable alumi-
                                                       son, both organic and inorganic              num and available phosphorus. Al-
          During the first growing sea-                amendments significantly affected            though not statistically significant,
     son, there was no significant differ-             yields and there was a significant           the replication with the lowest yield
A e n c e in yield between plots treated               difference in yield between replica-         also had the highest median pH and
     with the organic amendments or in                 tions. The interaction between or-           mean specific cswductance. Ex-
     interactions between the organic                  ganic and inorganic amendments               changeable acidity and available
     and inorganic amendments. The in-                 was not significant. The municipal           potassium were low and there was
     organic amendments significantly                  waste treatment had significantly            no consistent trend for calcium or
     influenced vegetation growth. Plots               higher yields than all other organic         magnesium.
     treated with lime and fertilizer and              amendments and the control plots.
     scrubber waste and fertilizer pro-                Yields following the tannery waste                Species composition is an im-
     duced the highest yield (Table 1).                treatment were higher than those             portant consideration in treatment
    There was no significant difference                for the shredded bark treatment or           comparisons. The species of
     between these treatments. The                     the control. There was no signifi-           grasses and legumes in the mixture
     plots treated with lime and fertilizer            cant difference in yield between the         have a range of tolerances to toxic
     had significantly higher yields than              shredded bark treatment and the              ions, nutrient requirements, and
     plots treated with fertilizer alone.              control.                                     compatability with associated

                                  Table 1.-Average green weight yield for three growing seasons

                                                                             Organic amendment
                  Inorganic                     Control             Shredded bark        Composted waste                Tannery waste
                                         Growing season             Growing season        Growing season               Growing season

                                                                Thousand _
                                           - - _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ pounds peracre - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
               Control                      a      a  0.4             a  0.1 1.3              0.4     1.1   5.5         0.4 2.3    4.4
               Fertilizer                   a     a    .5            0.3   .9 1.8              .9     1.5   7.2          .8 2.1    4.7
           Lime + Fertilizer              0.2     1.5 7.2            1.0 1.8 7.4              1.2     2.0   9.0         1.3 1.8    9.1
      Scrubber waste + fertilizer          .3     1.2 7.1            1.1 1.9 6.0               .9     2.2   7.7          .9 2.0    5.3

       a   Average is less than 100 pounds per acre,
 plants. These treatments may affect      Table 2,-Percentage of ground cover provided by legumes at the end
each of these toleran~e     factors di-                      of the third growing season
 rectly or indirectly. The legumes are
more rest~onslve taxlcitles, nutri-
                    to                                                             Organic amendment
ent availability, and competition                Inorganic
than many grass species. Therefore,             amendment
the percentage of the ground cover                                Control       Shredded    Composted         Tannery
                                                                                  bark        waste            waste
contributed by legumes was related
to the treatments. Each of the or-
ganic amendments when used alone                Control
increased the percentage of leg-              Fertilizer
umes on the plots (Table 2), The use            Lime +
of fertilizer with the organic amend-          fertilizer
ments resuited in a slight increase        S~rubber    waste
in the percentage of legumes. The           -r- fertilizer
addition of lime or scrubber waste
and fertilizer created con,ditions that    a   Grownvetch found on one or more subplots.
allowed the legumes to dominate
the cover. Phis occurred for all or-
ganic amendments as well as the

     Birdsfoot trefoil dominated the
legume cover beii" clover and
crownvetch contributed on many
plots. Aisike clover and Kobe les-
pedeza were not present after three
growing seasons though they were               Table 3.-Physical properties of mine soils I year after treatment
included in the seed mixture.
Crownvetch was found on all plots                                                                            Moisture-
treated with lime or scrubber waste,                  Treatment              Bulk density   Pore space       holding
and on plots treated with tannery                                                                            capacity
waste and fertilizer,

Physical Properties
                                                                                            - - - - - Percent - - - - - -
     One year after treatment, bulk         Control
density, total pore space, and mois-        Lime + fertilizer
ture-holding capacity were deter-           Scrubber waste + fertilizer
mined for selected treatment combi-                                 Mean
nations. No samples were collected        Shredded bark
on plots treated with fertilizer alone,     Gontrol
or in combination with thhe organic         Lime + fertilizer
amendments.                                 Scrubber waste + fertilizer
     There was no significant differ-                               Mean
ence between "rreatments for bulk         Municipal waste
density or total pore space (Table 3).      Control
Analyses of the moistcareholding            Lime i- fertilizer
capacity show that subplots treated         Scrubber waste + fertilizer
with scrubber waste had significant-                                Mean
ly lower moisture-holding capacity        Tannery waste
than the untreated control or the           Control
plots treated with lime, There was          Lime i- fertilizer
no significant differences in water-        Scrubber waste + fertilizer
holding capacity between t h e or-                                 Mean
ganic amendments.
                                           higher values for both variables than         The analyses show the tannery
                                           all other treatments. Minesoils on       waste treatment and the untreated
    A t the end of the third growing       the control plots had the lowest pH      control had significantly higher lev-
season, samples were collected             values. There was no significant dif-    els of phosphorus than the bark or
from each subplot to assess the            ference in specific conductance be-      composted municipal waste treat-
chemical characteristics of the            tween the control and shredded           ments. The low levels of phos-
minesoils. Parameters included             bark and municipal waste treat-          phorus on the bark and municipal
were pH, specific csnductance, ex-         ments.                                   waste plots may reflect a interaction
changeable acidity, exchangeable                                                    between the organic amendment
aluminum, and available phss-                     Both organic and inorganic        and the available phosphorus. The
phorus, potassium, calcium, and            amendments reduced exchangeable          inorganic amendments did not af-
magnesium. All data was analyzed           acidity and exchangeable aluminum.       fect phosphorus levels. There were
by analysis of variance and Dun-           Tannery waste treatments had sig-        highly significant differences in
can's multiple range test.                 nificantly lower levels than all other   available phosphorus between repii-
                                           treatments. All organic amendment        cations; replication means ranged
     Minesoil pH and specific con-         treatments were lower than the con-      from 38.4 to 9.7 ppm.
ductance were significantly influ-         trol. Lime and scrubber waste sig-
enced by the organic amendments            n i licantly reduced exchangeable             There were no significant differ-
but not by the inorganic amend-            acidity and exchangeable aluminum,       ences in potassium between plots
ments (Table 4). The tannery waste         but there was no significant differ-     treated with organic or inorganic
treatment resulted in significantly        ence between these treatments.           amendments.

                          Table 4.-Miarsssil   chemical characteristics 3 years after treatment

                                                                     Exchangeable-                     Available-
                                     Median       Specific
              Treatment               pH        conductance         acidity    aluminum            P    K   Ca      Mg

  Lime fertilizer

  Scrubber waste -i-fertlrizer
Shredded bark
  Lime fertilizer

  Scrubber waste + Fertilizer
Municipal waste
  Lime + fertilizer
  Scrubber waste + fertilizer
"I"annery waste
  Lime -r- fertilizer
  Scrubber waste -3. fertilizer

   Indicates a trace.
    The tannery waste treatment         Therefore, the time required to pro-     benefit of fertilizer, lime, or scrub-
greatly increased calcium and mag-      duce an effective ground cover-          ber waste. Shredded hardwood bark
nesium levers, but there was no         1,000 pounds of green forage per         was less effective and required 3
significant difference between the      acre-provides a basis for reviewing      years. These organic amendments
other two organic amendment treat-      the treatment options.                   reduced active acidity, exchange-
ments or the control. The lime and                                               able acidity, and exchangeable
scrubber waste treatments signifi-            An effective ground cover can-     aluminum.
cantly increased calcium but not         not be established on this minesoil
magnesium.                              without organic or inorganic amend-           The use of fertilizer with the
                                        ments. Acidity and exchangeable          three organic amendments did not
Discussions                             aluminum are believed to be con-         appreciably reduce the length of
                                        tributing factors. The addition of 300   time required to produce an effec-
    The results of this study indi-     pounds of diammonium phosphate           tive cover. It did increase yields
cate that several organic and inor-     fertilizer alone did not increase        when used with shredded bark and
ganic amendment options may be          yields. However, when fertilizer and     composted municipal waste.
useful in establishing an herba-        lime or scrubber waste were used,
ceous cover on acidic minesoil. The     an effective cover developed during           Where lime and fertilizer were
primary advantages are more rapid       the second growing season. These         used with the organic amendments,
establishment of an effective cover     treatments also are favorable for        an effective cover with a high per-
and higher yields of pasture and for-   legume growth.                           centage of legumes developed in
age crops.                                                                       the first growing season. Scrubber
                                            When composted municipal             waste with fertilizer and the organic
    The time required to establish      waste or tannery waste were used,        amendments were less effective
an effective cover is an important      an effective cover developed in the      than lime but an effective cover was
consideration on many mine sites.       second growing season without the        produced In the first or second
                                                                                 growing season.
Literature Cited                                        and liquid digested sludge to es-
                                                        tablish grasses and legumes on
Lejcher, T. R.; Kunkie, S. H.                           bituminous stripmine spoils. Uni-
  Restoration of acid spoil banks                       versity Park, PA: Pennsylvania
 with treated sewage sludge. In:                        State University Institute for Re-
  Recycling treated municipal                           search on Land and Water Re-
  wastewater and sludge through                         sources, Research Project Techni-
  forest and cropland. Sopper,                          cal Completion Report; 1974
  W. E.; Kardos, L. T., eds. Universi-                  March. Available from U.S. Dep.
  ty Park, PA: Pennsylvania State                       Commer., Natl. Tech. lnf. Serv.,
  Univ. Press; 1974.                                    Springfield, VA 22161
Scanlon, D. H.; Duggan, C.; Bean,
 S. D. Evaluation of municipal corn=                   Sutton, P. Establishment of vegeta.
 post for strip mine reclamation.                       tion on toxic coal mine spoils.
 Compost Sci. 14(3): 4-8; 1973.                          Presented at the research and ap-
                                                         plied technology symposium on
Sopper, W. E.; Kardos, L. T. Munici-                    mined-land reclamation; 1973
 pal wastewater aids revegetation                       March; Pittsburgh, PA. Sponsored
 of stripmined spoil banks. J. For.                     by the National Coal Association.
 70(10): 612-61 5; 1972.                                Available from the Mined-land
                                                        reclamation symposium, Bitumi-
Sopper, W. E.; Kardos, L. T.; Edger-                    nous Coal Research, Inc. Monroe-
 ton, 8. R. Using sewage effluent                       ville, PA 15146.

 3J.S.   GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1982-505-012:21
Errata Sheet   --   Research Paper NE-502

Change "Cornposted waste" t o "Municipal waste" i n box
headings i n Tables 1 and 2 .
Plass, William T. Organic and inorganic amendments affect
  vegetation growth on an acidic minesoil. Broomall, PA: North-
  east. For. Exp. Stn.; 1982; USDA For. Serv. Res. Pap. NE 502. 7

Shredded hardwood bark, composted municipal waste, and a
tannery waste were applied to an acidic minesoil. Supplementai
inorganic amendments including fertilizer, agricultural lime,
and an alkaline waste from an SO2 scrubber system were
applied alone and in combination with the organic amend-
ments. Treatment comparisons were based on vegetation re-
sponse and chemical and physical characteristics of the mine.
soil after treatment. Organic amendments are not required for
establishing vegetation, though some reduced the time re-
quired to produce an acceptable cover.

Keywords: Bark mulch; composted municipal waste; tannery
waste; grasses; legumes
  Headquadem of the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station are in
Broomall, Pa. Field laboratories are maintained at:

e Amherst, Massachusetts, in cooperation with the University of
@    Berea, Kentucky, in cooperation with Wrea College.
@    Burlington, Vermont, in cooperation with the University of
     Delaware, Ohio.
@    Durham, New Hampshire, in cooperation with the University of

     Hamden, Connecticut, in cooperation with Yale University.
@    Morgantown, West Virginia, in cooperation with West Virginia
     University, Morgantown.
@    Orono, Maine, in cooperation with the University of Maine,
     Parsons, West Virginia.
     Princeton, West Virginia.
     Syracuse, New York, in cooperation with the State University of
     New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry at
     Syracuse University, Syracuse.
     University Park, Pennsylvania, in cooperation with the
     Pennsylvania State University.
Q)   Warren, Pennsylvania.

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