Fertilizer effects on attaining vegetation requirements.
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Fertilizer effects on attaining vegetation requirements.

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      This project was developed to evaluate the effects of varying the substrate and fertilization regimes on the success of complex warm-season grass and forb seedings on recent roadside construction sites. Re-vegetating construction projects is required for complying with NDOR’s environmental permits pertaining to wetlands, endangered or threatened species, and stormwater. The stormwater discharge permit specifies that 70% perennial cover relative to pre-construction foliar cover must develop prior to closing the permit. There are substantial costs associated with both ongoing monitoring of sites until they meet permit requirements and of reseeding if re-vegetation fails. The use of stockpiled or imported topsoil was expected to produce better stand establishment than existing cut-slope soils because construction methods often result in a surface layer of low-quality subsoil. Topsoil should provide better growing conditions, and is therefore expected to provide better stand establishment and foliar cover. Fertilizer treatments were tested because protocols were developed for low diversity cool-season grass seedings, and complex warm-season grass and forb mixes may respond differently to fertilization. Nitrogen fertilization (applied at 0, 18, and 36 lbs N/acre) was not expected to improve stand establishment in the complex warm-season mixes because faster growing annuals also take up nitrogen rapidly and compete with seeded species. In contrast, phosphorus fertilization (applied at 0, 20, and 40 lbs N/acre) was expected to improve stand establishment because it is thought to encourage rapid root development, which would favor the more substantial roots of most species in the complex warm-season mixes.
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