OJE  Vol.3 No.7 , November 2013
Soil compaction and arbuscular mycorrhizae affect seedling growth of three grasses
Abstract: Soil compaction is a limitation to establishment of native forest species on reclaimed surfacemined lands in Appalachia. Previously, non-native forage species such as tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus(Schreb.) Dumort., nom. cons.) have been planted because they easily established on reclaimed mine soil. There is now interest in establishing robust native prairie species to enhance biodiversity and provide greater potential for root activity in the compacted soil. We conducted a 10-week glasshouse study comparing growth of “Pete” eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloidesL.), “Bison” big bluestem (Andropogon gerardiiVitman), and “Jesup MaxQ” tall fescue at soil bulk densities (BD) of 1.0, 1.3, and 1.5 g·cm-3. We also examined effects of arbuscular-mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on plant growthin relation to compaction. Sources of AMF were a reclaimed surface coal mine soil and a native tallgrass prairie soil. Shoot and root biomass of tall fescue and big bluestem were reduced at 1.5 BD while eastern gamagrass growth was not affected. Growth ofbig bluestem and eastern gamagrass was greaterwith AMF than without, butsimilar between AMF sources. Tall fescue growthwas not enhanced by AMF. Overall, tall fescue biomass was 3 times greater than eastern gamagrass and 6 times greater than big bluestem when comparing only AMF-colonized grasses. Eastern gamagrass and big bluestem are both slower to establish than tall fescue. Eastern gamagrass appears to be more tolerant of compaction, while big bluestem appears somewhat less tolerant.
Cite this paper: Thorne, M. , Rhodes, L. and Cardina, J. (2013) Soil compaction and arbuscular mycorrhizae affect seedling growth of three grasses. Open Journal of Ecology, 3, 455-463. doi: 10.4236/oje.2013.37052.

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