Effect of surface roughness and mulch on semi-arid revegetation success, soil chemistry and soil movement

Holly M. Beggy, Jeffrey S. Fehmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


For the successful reclamation of disturbed land, the reduction of initial erosion risk must be balanced with later vegetation establishment. A combination of erosion control and revegetation practices was researched using commercial (full-sized) equipment on a semi-desert grassland site in southern Arizona, USA. Two soils with different parent materials were used to add a 30 cm cap on sites at two elevations: 1646 and 1403 m asl. There were two surface roughness treatments: smooth and rough. Three straw mulch treatments were applied: no mulch, mulch incorporated into the surface soil, and mulch tackified onto the surface. Plots were planted with a 10-species native mix dominated by perennial grasses. After two growing seasons, the incorporated mulch treatment resulted in significantly more seeded grass aboveground biomass than the no mulch treatment while the no mulch treatment had more forb and volunteer biomass than the surface mulch treatment. There was significantly higher erosion on the rough surface treatment compared to the smooth surface. Increasing perennial grass biomass was correlated with reduced erosion while forb and volunteer biomass showed no relationship with erosion. The smooth surface with surface mulch best established perennial grasses, minimized weeds, and reduced erosion. This combination of practices both minimized erosion as well as maximized vegetation establishment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Arizona
  • Bouteloua curtipendula
  • Erosion
  • Soil pH
  • Warm-season perennial grasses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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