Poultry manure enhances grass establishment at a quarry rehabilitation site in subtropical South Africa

28 August 2012

The rehabilitation of a quarry was conducted with selected grass species in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The seed cocktail applied contained Chloris gayana, Cynodon dactylon, Digitaria eriantha, Eragrostis curvula, Panicum maximum and Paspalum distichum. Three treatments used were: No soil enhancement (control), poultry manure application, and commercial fertilizer application. Four months after sowing, the percentage grass cover per 1 m2 of treatment was 33% for the control, 65% where manure was applied and 76% with fertilizer application. Both fertilizer and manure applications promoted the colonization of grass species. Fertilizer application significantly increased biomass of grass (P_0.05). Poultry manure resulted in higher biomass of approximately 5 g per m2 more than the control; however the mean was not significantly different from the control (P_0.05). These results suggest that fertilizer application prior to seed sowing in a rehabilitated quarry provide the highest biomass after four months. The application of poultry manure proved to be a cheaper option to increase aboveground plant cover in a rehabilitated area, but it is less effective than fertilizer in terms of biomass production.