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Two compost materials (COMPRO and LEAFGRO) were evaluated as soil amendments to enhance wildlife habitats, while maintaining optimal floral and faunal biodiversity. Special emphasis was placed on the role of compost in the establishment and retention of native warm season grasses (Andropogon gerardi, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Sorghastrum nutans). This study was conducted at two sites that were degraded by previous military and farming operations. Sites were plowed twice in 1996 and then a one inch layer of COMPRO or LEAFGRO was applied with a modified manure spreader and disked into the soil to a depth of 3 inches. Vegetation sampling was conducted in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. Initially the greatest vegetation cover occurred in plots treated with LEAFGRO. Plots treated with COMPRO had less vegetation cover than both types of controls plots (with and without warmseason grasses). The reduced plant growth in the plots treated with COMPRO may have been related to the much higher soil pH of these plots on both sites. In subsequent years, amounts of warm season grasses increased, however, in general there was more cover of warm season grasses in plots that did not receive compost than those that did receive compost. Sorghastrum nutans was more abundant on the sites than either of the other two species of warm season grasses. Invertebrate and mammal data collected for three years indicated that there was not more faunal activity in the plots treated with LEAFGRO or COMPRO compost soil amendments. Results indicate that compost amendments did not improve establishment of warm season grasses and the resultant faunal diversity or abundance.
Additional Publication Details
Establishment of warm season grasses with and without the use of compost soil amendments
Agricultural Research Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service