The University of Arizona

Effects of biosolids on tobosagrass growth in the Chihuahuan desert.

P. Jurado, D.B. Wester


Little information is available about seasonal application and carry-over effects of biosolids application to semi-arid grasslands. Biosolids rates of 0 (control), 7, 18, or 34 Mg ha-1 were topically applied to tobosagrass (Hilaria mutica (Buckl.) Benth.) experimental plots in a Chihuahuan desert grassland in western Texas. Biosolids were applied twice in 1994, for one-year-only, either in winter-and-summer (WS), or spring-and-summer (SS) seasons. Half of the plots were irrigated every summer for 4 years (1994-1997). Tobosagrass standing crop (herbage yield) and total Kjeldahl nitrogen concentration (plant %TKN) were measured every year during the 4 years of the study (1994-1997). An increase in biosolids rate increased tobosagrass herbage yield linearly during the 4 growing seasons. Linear and quadratic responses to biosolids rates were observed in %TKN during the experiment. Irrigation increased tobosagrass herbage yield. Irrigation decreased %TKN in 1995 and 1996 and had no influence during the other years. Winter-and-summer applications increased herbage yield more than spring and summer applications in 3 out of 4 years. Spring-and-summer applications increased %TKN more than winter and summer applications only in 1996. Carry-over effects on tobosagrass herbage yield and %TKN were observed in the second, third, and fourth growing seasons after biosolids application. Twice-a-year application of biosolids for 1-year-only offers an excellent means to improve tobosagrass productivity and forage quality.



irrigated conditions;sewage sludge;waste disposal;land application;timing;grassland improvement;Hilaria mutica;mineral content;semiarid grasslands;rain;nitrogen content;application rate;Texas;crop yield

Full Text: