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Thomas Schmidt ACF Abstract FY10

An Evaluation of Four Plant Species for Use in Sand Mine Revegetation

Conference Name: Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters (MASAL)

Sand mining results in environmental degradation.  In this greenhouse experiment, we evaluated the growth from seed of four plant species: Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), little blue stem (Schizachyrium scoparium), lupine (Lupinus perennis), and Illinois ticktrefoil (Desmodium illinoense) for their potential use in sand mine revegetation.  We evaluated the growth of each species grown with or without peat (P) and fertilizer (F): +P/+F, +P/-F, -P/+F, -P/-F.  Five seeds per species were planted in 100 cm2 pots; each treatment was replicated 10 times.  Across all species, germination was significantly higher with peat (mean = 25% with peat vs. 18% without). Lupine and Illinois ticktrefoil exhibited greater germination when grown with peat. Lupine exhibited the greatest root (mean = 0.007 g), shoot (mean = 0.023 g) and total biomass (mean = 0.031 g). Across all species, root, shoot, and total biomass were significantly greater when grown with peat and fertilizer combined. Root, shoot, and total biomass of lupine were significantly greater when grown with peat. Total biomass of Illinois ticktrefoil was significantly greater with peat and fertilizer, and total biomass of Indian grass was greatest with fertilizer.  Results can be used to determine appropriate species and soil amendment combinations for sand mine revegetation.

Thomas J. Schmidt* and Todd A. Aschenbach, Grand Valley State University, Department of Biology