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The University of Arizona
Department of Soil, Water,
and Environmental Science

IK 2011 Field Study Installation
Materials and Methods

In April 2011, the area previously prepared to the south-east of the phase I study, was surveyed and prepared for installation of the Phase II study

Phase I and II area prior to land prep in 2010Google maps aerial view of Phase I and Phase II
The phase II area was ripped in three directions to a depth of 12 in. (38 cm) with a John Deer 210 tractor. The field was then disked in four passes with an agricultural disk to breakup large clods and even out the surface.
Phase II area prior to 2011 land prep surface following ripping and disking
Plot borders were staked out for the Phase II study. Twenty four plots (25ft x 50ft; 7.6m x 15.2m) were laid out in a randomized complete block design, with 6 treatments of varying compost and seeding rates [Table 1 and 2], and 4 replications blocked against a previously surveyed pH gradient [Figure 4] (Hayes etal, 2009). The position of lime treatment plots were forced to the southern end (down slope) of the study to prevent cross treatment contamination in case of a runoff event.
surface following ripping and disking Phase II field plot work

Table 1. Field Study Treatments
Treatment #
Treatments (replicated four times)
% Compost w/w
lime (lbs/ac)
seeded *
seeded *
* with plant growth promoting bacteria treatments. See PGPB treatment outline, table XX

Table 2. . Species and Seeding rates for Phase II

Seeding Rate
common scientific
Arizona Fescue Festuca arizonica
Buffalo Grass Buchloe dactyloides

Quail bush Atriplex lentiformas

Catclaw Acacia Acacia greggii
Mesquite Prosopis juliflora

Composted dairy manure (Arizona Dairy Compost, LLC) (Table 3 and 4) was applied to plots according to treatment designations using a John Deere 210 front end loader. The applied compost mass was weighed out by the bucket load using truck scales prior to applying to the plots. The compost was spread on out the plots with the front end loader, disked into the tailings with an agricultural disk, and then rototilled with an 80 inch pto-driven rototiller. Hydrated mortar lime was applied and incorporated with a disk in the lime treated plots prior to compost application.

night time lime application
lime application prior to incorporation
Frontend loader used to apply compost
compost application

Small seed species were hand broadcasted over the plots according to treatment designations. Seed was mixed into the tailings using a 80" spiked toothed harrow and chain link drag. Following seeding straw was scattered over the plot surfaces at a rate of 150 lbs/plot (2 bales). The hay was then crimped 4 inches deep into the tailing surface with a bank of 4 18" agricultural disk blades. Lime, small seed, and hay applications were conducted at night as high winds during the day made these operations difficult.

Large seeded species (mesquite and acacia) were sown by hand post hay application. Each specie was planted to two seed lines across the length of the plot, 1.0 inch deep and 12" apart. Seed lines were were spaced 3 foot apart and species were alternated between the seed lines.

night time broadcast seeding
large seed planted by hand in designated seed lines

Once treatments were completed, plot borders were constructed with an 80" border disk. The finished plot size after completion of the borders was 25ft x 43ft. Soil samples were collected from the top 6 in. of each plot to establish initial chemical parameters. A sprinkler system was installed to provide irrigation and fence was erected around the study area to to inhibit wildlife grazing.

Plots were irrigated every 7 to 10 days in the absence of rainfall. Due to limited water availability the amount of water applied was limited to about 25 to 40 % of the estimated ET.

A photolog of the field status was recorded with each site visit.


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