Migration of sand dunes damages range improvements in the Texas Coastal Sand Plain. We determined effects of mulching with native prairie hay and an open weave geotextile fabric, seeding, fertilization, and transplanting on plant species canopy cover on inland sand dunes. We compared applying native hay vs. a synthetic geotextile material to inhibit wind erosion, seeding ‘Alamo’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), ‘Mason’ sandhill lovegrass (Eragrostis trichodes [Nutt.] Wood), and partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata [Michx.] Greene) vs. no seeding, and fertilization with 468 kg·ha−1 of 45:45:90 (N:P:K) vs. no fertilization. The same treatments were compared in a second experiment except that switchgrass, sandhill lovegrass, vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides [L.] Nash ex Small), and giant reed (Arundo donax L.) were transplanted rather than seeded. Treatments were applied during March and April 1994 and canopy cover of vegetation in each experimental unit was estimated in October 1994, 1995, and 2004. Livestock were excluded from the study sites. The geotextile fabric degraded within 4 months and was replaced with coastal Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon [L.] Pers.) hay. Fertilization plus native hay mulch resulted in greater (P < 0.05) canopy cover of purple sandgrass (Triplasis purpurea [Walt.] Chapm.), sandbur (Cenchrus incertus M. A. Curtis and C. echinatus L.), and snakecotton (Froelichia spp.) than other treatments in 1994. In 1994 and 1995, canopy cover of switchgrass and sandhill lovegrass was greater (P < 0.05) with a combination of geotextile fabric and commercial hay, seeding, and fertilization than in other treatments. Vegetation composition and canopy cover were similar (P > 0.05) across treatments in 2004 in both experiments. Fertilization, seeding, and transplanting appear unnecessary to establish vegetation on dunes protected from livestock grazing when mulch is applied to inhibit sand movement.
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Vol. 59 • No. 5