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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL APPLICATION OF AGRICULTURAL WASTE TO IMPROVE CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Title: Effects of An Uncomposted Municipal Waste Processing by-Product on Prairie Grass Establishment

Authors
item Busby, Ryan - U.S. ARMY CORP. OF ENG.
item Gebhart, L - U.S. ARMY CORP. OF ENG.
item Torbert, Henry

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 3, 2006
Publication Date: June 27, 2006
Citation: Busby, R.R., Gebhart, L., Torbert III, H.A. 2006. Effects of an uncomposted municipal waste processing by-product on prairie grass establishment. Agronomy Journal. 98:1073-1080.

Interpretive Summary: A garbage processing technology has been developed that sterilizes and separates inorganic and organic components of municipal solid waste. The uncomposted organic byproduct of this process has the potential to be utilized as a soil amendment to improve highly degraded soils. A study was initiated to evaluate this waste material as a soil amendment for establishing native prairie grasses on disturbed Army training lands. Perennial grass establishment was improved dramatically with increasing application rates. Land application of this uncomposted waste material could be considered a viable and beneficial alternative to current waste management practices for degraded Army training grounds.

Technical Abstract: A garbage processing technology has been developed that sterilizes and separates inorganic and organic components of municipal solid waste. The uncomposted organic byproduct of this process has the potential to be utilized as a soil amendment to improve highly degraded soils. A study was initiated to evaluate this waste material as a soil amendment for establishing native prairie grasses on disturbed Army training lands. The waste was incorporated into sandy soils at Fort Benning Military Reservation on two sites: a moderately degraded and a highly degraded soil. The waste material was applied at rates of 0, 17.9, 35.8, 71.6, and 143 Mg ha-1 to assess its effects on vegetation for two growing seasons. The addition of the uncomposted waste increased percent composition and basal cover of Panicum virgatum L. at both sites and percent composition of Andropogon gerardii Vitman at one site. However, Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash was negatively affected by the addition of the waste material at both sites. Biomass in the 143 Mg ha-1 treatment increased 4180% compared to the seeded control at the highly degraded site. Plant uptake of P and Na increased at both sites and an apparent Fe toxicity problem was alleviated at the highly disturbed site with increasing application rates. Because perennial grass establishment improved so dramatically with increasing application rates, land application of this uncomposted waste material could be considered a viable and beneficial alternative to current waste management practices for degraded Army training grounds.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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