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Mixtures of crushed rock, forest soils, and sewage sludge used as soils for grassed green areas

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In two container experiments, we evaluated mixtures of crushed rock, forest soil, and sewage sludge for use as growth media in green areas. We applied two types of crushed rock (0–2 mm fraction), two forest soils (sandy loam), and limed sewage sludge (pH 10), and studied the growth of ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum var. westervoldicum) during one growing season.

Including ≥0.2 m3 m–3 sewage sludge in the soil mixtures initially inhibited growth, presumably due to toxic levels of ammonium-N. Up to 0.25 m3 m–3 sludge increased the total yield of ryegrass, but at a level as low as 0.1 m3 m–3, more nutrients were available than could be taken up by the crop. At present, up to 0.3 m3 m–3 sewage sludge is allowed in soil mixtures used in green areas in Norway, although that level should probably be lowered due to the risk of abnormal (enhanced or inhibited) plant growth, and leaching of nutrients. We recommend a maximum of 0.1 m3 m–3 when applying the kind of sludge used in our experiments.

All mixtures containing acid forest soil gave better results than those comprising slightly alkaline forest soil. The best mixture for ryegrass was crushed rock and acid forest soil at a ratio of 1:2. Compared to pure acid forest soil ryegrass grew equally well or better on mixtures containing ≥0.50 m3 m–3 acid forest soil. The differences in growth between the various soil mixtures were due to texture and physical properties, and to dissimilarities in the effects of sewage sludge on mineralisation of nitrogen in the mixtures comprising acid and slightly alkaline forest soil.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Jordforsk, Norwegian Centre for Soil and Environmental Research, Ås, Norway 2: Agricultural University of Norway, Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences, Ås, Norway

Publication date: 01 June 2003

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