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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Reclaiming coal mines with native grasses in the Northeastern United States
Year: 2002
Author(s): Glennon, R., van der Grinten, M.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Third Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 38
Original Publication:  
Abstract: The Natural Resource Conservation Service has conducted field trials with other agencies over the past thirty years to test the establishment and persistence of native warm season grasses on abandoned and reclaimed coal mines in the northeastern United States. The results of these trials have been transferred to routine field use in technical standards and specifications and university extension publications. The major commercially available species (deertongue, switchgrass, indiangrass, big bluestem, little bluestem, eastern gamagrass, coastal panicgrass) have all been established successfully and have persisted on mine sties. They pose less competition to planted trees and shrubs than non-native groundcovers do, and allow more colonization by native forb species. Each species has a unique niche in the reclamation strategy from the low pH and aluminum and manganese tolerance of deertongue to the stiff-stemmed wildlife cover value of switchgrass to the high forage quality of eastern gamagrass. Mixtures of these grasses can be made by combining compatible species and adjusting seeding rates so no one species dominates the mixture. Standard establishment recommendations such as early sowing to achieve stratification, good seed-to-soil contact by drilling and packing, and weed control are as critical as they are on natural soil.
Publisher: The North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC, October 1-3, 2002. Omnipress, Madison, WI
Editor(s): J. Randall