Reclamation Research

Read our Land Reclamation Fact Sheet here.

Cover crop program for tailings sand stabilization
Woosaree, J.; Hiltz, M.; and McKenzie, M. (SUNCORE Energy). 2012. Alberta Innovates- Technology Futures. 

Alfalfa Green pellets were used as part of a study to determine fertilizer and soil amendments on the germination rate and growth of cover crops used for tailings pond remediation. Cover crops seeded on the sands covering the tailings pond coke layer are grown to prevent wind and water erosion, so species that are quick to establish and hardy against harsh conditions are the ideal choice. In the last few years, however, there has been a movement toward using native grasses instead of the historical cover crops like barley or oats. This study reflected that movement, testing the germination rate and growth of native grasses and whether these parameters have visible improvement when a soil amendment or fertilizer is added. Three native grass plots were tested: fringed brome grass(Bromus ciliatus), June grass (Koeleria macrantha), and a native grass mix. Alfalfa Green was added to the plots at varied rates of 5, 10, and 20 metric tonnes per hectare. The study concluded that the biggest impact from applications of Alfalfa Green was the improved physical soil properties. Improved soil moisture retention and increased organic matter, as well as the slow release of nutrients, increased seed germination, seedling establishment, and plant density, although plant height was not effected. 

Read Cover Crop Program for Tailings Sand Stabilization

Effect of Alfalfa Green Soil Amendment on Hydrocarbon Breakdown in a Landfarming System: Results After Two Years
Mathison, K. (PINTER & Associtates Ltd.). 2015. 

Alfalfa Green was tested at four different application rates on hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. The goal of the experiment was to analyze the behaviour of hydrocarbon-degrading microbes in response to Alfalfa Green, as well as to look at the levels of hydrocarbon degradation after Alfalfa Green applications. There was no significant impact on the hydrocarbon degradation, and although the microbial populations spiked after Alfalfa Green applications, the hydrocarbon-degrading microbes did not increase their activity. Other observations taken during this study yielded interesting results, however, showing clear trends between increased moisture retention, nutrient availablility, and microbial activity and populations after Alfalfa Green was added. 

Contact us for more information on this study.

Amendment Trials for Bioremediation of Sodium and Chloride Contaminated Soils
Savidov, N. (Agriculture Alberta) and Wilson, D. (WAMCO). 2005.

Sodium and chloride contaminated soils were collected from a site in southeastern Alberta. Samples taken from each of the three soil layers (horizons) were combined to create a composite sample for each layer. Three amendments were added- AG, coconut coir, and zeolite. Soils were seeded and put in a greenhouse to measure plant height, biomass, and sodium and chloride uptake. All amendments improved plant growth, and the Alfalfa Green and coconut coir also improved the sodium uptake by the plants.

Read Amendment Trials for Bioremediation of Sodium and Chloride Contaminated Soils.

Effect of Alfalfa Green Organic Soil Amendment on Re-Vegetation Success of Native Grass on Sandy Soils
Barrett, D. WAMCO. 2012.

Over a two year trial, varying rates of Alfalfa Green were applied to plots of sand textured soil to evaluate reclamation efficacy and determine the most efficient rate for re-vegetation success on sandy soils. AG was applied at rates of 0mt/ac, 3mt/ac, 4mt/ac, and 5mt/ac on a sandy loam textured field that had been previously seeded with canola and wheat but failed to grow. Plots were seeded with a commercial mixed grass seed and AG pellets were left as a top dressing. In the second trial year, half the plots were reseeded and pellets were reapplied. Data on grass height, coverage, colour, root depth, and change in soil nutrients was collected over the trial period. A greater boost in regards to plant height and root depth was evident in the retreated plots; however coverage remained relatively constant with the highest AG application rate being the densest. Few changes in soil nutrient profile were noted, which suggests that nutrients were being taken up by the grass. Throughout the trial, AG was consistently found to support higher rates of grass growth, enhanced colouration, and greater root depths. The most beneficial effects were observed under 4mt/ac and 5mt/ac plots, which confirms WAMCO’s recommended rate of 4mt/ac for sandy and nutrient deficient soils. 

Read Effect of Alfalfa Green organic soil amendment on re-vegetation success of native grasses on sandy soils.

Contact us with your questions or to learn more about our reclamation research!