• Wheat Establishment for Mulch on Coal Mine Soil in a Semiarid Environment

      Day, A. D.; Tucker, T. C.; Thames, J. L.; Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona; Department of Soils, Water, and Engineering, University of Arizona; School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1980)
      Experiments were conducted on the Black Mesa Coal Mine near Kayenta, Arizona over a 2-year period (1977 and 1978) to study the germination (emergence), seedling establishment, and ground cover from wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in undisturbed soil and coal mine soil (spoils). Growth of wheat was evaluated for two fertilizer treatments applied at the rates of 0 kg/ha and 560 kg/ha of ammonium phosphate and two soil moisture treatments (optimum and insufficient). The coal mine soil was leveled to conform to the surrounding rolling topography. In April of each year wheat was broadcast planted due to the rough terrain, fertilized at planting time, and irrigated as needed (using wheat plants as indicators of moisture stress). Seeds germinated per unit area, seedlings established per unit area, and percent ground cover were recorded. These three parameters were higher in undisturbed soil than in coal mine soil, when fertilized than when not fertilized, and when optimum soil moisture was provided than when seeds were stressed for moisture. At the end of the growing season, the wheat straw was incorporated into the soil surface and was used as a mulching material. In coal mine wastes in a semiarid environment, the area must be fertilized and provided with optimum soil moisture to produce the maximum growth of wheat for immediate ground cover and soil mulch.