Study

Influence of soil properties on coastal sandplain grassland establishment on former agricultural fields

  • Published source details Neill C., Wheeler M.M., Loucks E., Weiler A., Von Holle B., Pelikan B. & Chase T. (2015) Influence of soil properties on coastal sandplain grassland establishment on former agricultural fields. Restoration Ecology, 23, 531-538.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Irrigate before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Add sulphur to soil before seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Sow native grass and forbs

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Irrigate before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a former arable field in Massachusetts, USA (Neill et al. 2015) found that adding water after sowing native grass and forb seeds did not alter the cover and species richness of native plant species or total plant species richness compared to sowing without adding water. In the first year after sowing, the average cover and richness of native plant species and total plant species richness did not differ significantly between plots with water added (native plants: 25–32% cover, 8–10 species/plot; total plants: 19–20 species/plot) and plots with no water added (native plants: 36% cover, 11 species/plot; total plants: 23 species/plot). The same was true five years after sowing (native plants: 51–58% vs 59% cover, 10 vs 10 species/plot; total plants: 18 vs 17 species/plot). In November 2008, fifteen 5 x 5 m plots were sown with locally collected native grass and forb seeds of 26 species. All plots were tilled before sowing to remove non-native vegetation. Water was added to 10 plots (190–380 l/plot) between June and August 2009, and five plots had no water added. Vegetation was surveyed in a 3 x 3 m quadrat placed in the centre of each plot in July or August 2009 and 2013.

     

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  2. Add sulphur to soil before seeding/planting

    A replicated, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a former arable field in Massachusetts, USA (Neill et al. 2015) found that adding sulphur to the soil before sowing native grass and forb seeds did not alter the cover and species richness of native plants or total plant species richness compared to sowing without sulphur. In the first year after sowing, the average cover and richness of native plant species and total plant species richness did not differ significantly between plots with sulphur added (native plants: 23 % cover, 8–10 species/plot; total: 20–21 species/plot) and plots with no sulphur added (native plants: 36% cover, 11 species/plot; total plants: 23 species/plot). The same was true five years after sowing (native plants: 40–64% vs 59% cover, 11 vs 10 species/plot; total plants: 18–21 vs 17 species/plot). In October–November 2008,  fifteen 5 x 5 m plots had sulphur (91–273 g/m2) tilled into the soil  before native grass and forb seeds of 26 species were sown, while in five other plots seeds were sown but no sulphur was added. All plots were tilled before treatment/seeding to remove non-native plants. Vegetation was surveyed in a 3 x 3 m quadrat placed in the centre of each plot in July and August 2009 and 2013.

     

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  3. Sow native grass and forbs

    A replicated, controlled study in 2008–2013 in a former arable field in Massachusetts, USA (Neill et al. 2015) found that sowing native grass and forb seeds increased the cover and species richness of native plants compared to unsown areas.  During 1–5 years after sowing, plots sown with native grass and forb seeds had on average greater cover (24–59%) and species richness (10–11 species/plot) of native plants than plots not sown with seeds (8–16%, 2–3 species/plot). The same was true for total plant species richness (sown plots: 17–23 species/plot; unsown plots: 10–11 species/plot). Statistical analyses carried out in this study did not test for significant differences between sown and unsown plots. Five 5 x 5 m plots were tilled to a depth of 16cm in June and August 2008 to remove non-native vegetation. In November 2008, the five plots were sown with seeds of 26 locally collected native species at a rate of 38 kg/ha. Fifteen other plots were not tilled or sown with seeds. Vegetation was surveyed annually in a 3 x 3 m quadrat placed in the centre of each plot in July and August 2007–2013.

     

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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