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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Fertilizer and Organic Amendment Effects on Mine Soil Properties and Revegetation Success


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 56 No. 4, p. 1177-1184
    Received: Mar 28, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Stephen H. Schoenholtz ,
  2. James A. Burger and
  3. Richard E. Kreh
  1. Dep. of Forestry, Mississippi State Univ., Mississippi State, MS 39762
    Dep. of Forestry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA 24061



Nitrogen deficiency frequently limits mine-soil revegetation in the eastern USA. Application of organic amendments to these systems may provide a long-term source of N and eliminate the need for repeated fertilization. A factorial experiment was conducted using lysimeters to determine the degree to which (i) organic amendments (control, 50 Mg ha−1 of whole-tree wood chips, or 500 Mg ha−1 of native topsoil) and (ii) inorganic N fertilizer (0 or 100 kg N ha−1 as NH4NO3) affected mine-soil properties and establishment of herbaceous vegetation and pitch × loblolly hybrid pine (Pinus rigida L. × P. taeda L.) seedlings on a newly exposed mine soil from the central Appalachian region. Amendments were tilled into the soil surface prior to application of fertilizer and cover-crop seed. After 3 yr, total N, mineralizable N, and organic C in the wood-chip-amended mine soil were 10, 50, and 18% higher, respectively, than the control. Tree growth after 2 yr was highest with wood chips. A lack of wood-chip treatment effect on pine nutrition showed that higher soil moisture levels, resulting from lower evapotranspiration, probably accounted for improved tree growth. Topsoil replacement increased total N and mineralizable N by 23 and 46%, respectively, but did not significantly increase vegetation productivity over that of the control. Nitrogen fertilizer increased herbaceous biomass production by 87% during the first growing season but did not affect herbaceous or pine productivity in two subsequent years or produce lasting effects on soil nutrient levels. Organic amendment × fertilizer interactions were not significant for any measured parameters. Results show that the organic amendments provided more stable sources of soil N; however, early revegetation success was more a function of moisture than of soil nutrient availability.

This work was conducted in the Dep. of Forestry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. with support from the Powell River Project and the Dep. of Interior's Mineral Institutes Program administered by the Bureau of Mines under allotment Grant no. G1194151.

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