The wetland grass Glyceria fluitans for revegetation of metal mine tailings

  • Published source details McCabe O.M. & Otte M.L. (2000) The wetland grass Glyceria fluitans for revegetation of metal mine tailings. Wetlands, 20, 548-559.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add inorganic fertilizer before/after planting non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Directly plant non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Add inorganic fertilizer before/after planting non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

    A replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 1996–1997 in tubs of mine tailings in Ireland (McCabe & Otte 2000) found that fertilization increased the growth of planted floating sweetgrass Glyceria fluitans in one trial, but had no significant effect in one other. One trial used tailings from Tara mines. Over 14 months, leaves grew more in length in fertilized tailings (total growth 42 m/tub) than unfertilized tailings (18 m/tub). After 14 months, above-ground biomass was greater in fertilized tailings (live: 9; dead; 8 g/tub) than unfertilized tailings (live: 3; dead; 3 g/tub). The other trial used tailings from Silvermines. After two months, neither leaf growth rate nor biomass significantly differed between fertilized and unfertilized tubs (see original paper for data). In a previous attempt to plant sweetgrass into Silvermines tailings, all plants died within 3–4 months. Methods: In July 1996 and 1997, six 50 litre plastic tubs of mine tailings were each planted with three sweetgrass runners. Fertilizer (700 kg/ha NPK) was mixed into three of the tubs before planting. Tubs were placed outside and kept flooded (10–15 cm water depth). Measurements were taken at planting (leaf length) and in September 1997 (leaf length, above-ground dry biomass).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Directly plant non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

    A study in 1996–1997 in a mine tailing pool in Ireland (McCabe & Otte 2000) reported that planted floating sweetgrass Glyceria fluitans grew. Over 6–14 months after planting, the sweetgrass plants grew 0.5–2.9 shoots/month. Live above-ground biomass increased by 0.1–0.6 g/month. A batch of sweetgrass planted in deeper water in spring grew faster than a batch planted in shallower water the previous autumn (see original paper). Methods: A total of 21 wild-collected sweetgrass plants (runners with two shoots; 5.5–7.0 g fresh mass) were planted into a pool of mining waste. Fourteen plants were planted in July 1996 (in 20–30 cm deep water, but water table dropped below surface in summer). Seven plants were planted in March 1997 (in 30–50 cm deep water, with sediment always waterlogged). In September 1997, all sweetgrass shoots were counted then harvested, dried and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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