Long-term plant establishment on mined lands in southeastern Montana

  • Published source details Holechek J.L., DePuit E.J., Coenenberg J. & Valdez R. (1982) Long-term plant establishment on mined lands in southeastern Montana. Journal of Range Management, 35, 522-525.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add fertilizer to soil before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Add fertilizer to soil before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1975–1980 in a former coal mine in Montana, USA (Holechek et al. 1982) found that adding fertilizer after sowing seeds increased the cover, but not the density, of four sown plant species compared to sowing without fertilizer. After five years, average cover of four sown plant species (thickspike wheatgrass Elymus lanceolatus, crested wheatgrass Agropyron cristatum, alfalfa Medicago sativa, and fourwing saltbush Atriplex canescens) was higher in plots where fertilizer was added and seeds were sown (10–43%) than in plots where seeds were sown without fertilizer (2–28%). However, the average density of each of the four sown species did not differ significantly between fertilized (12–88 plants/m2) and unfertilized plots (8–82 plants/m2). In 1975, eight 9 x 10 m plots were each sown with thickspike wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass, alfalfa, or fourwing saltbush seeds. Nitrogen and phospohorus fertilizer was applied to 12 of the plots, while 12 plots had no fertilizer applied. In July 1980, plant density and cover were estimated in at least 14–16 randomly placed 20 x 20–50 cm quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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