Smuts finger grass (Digitaria eriantha Cv Irene) root growth assessment and some physicochemical characteristics on coal mined land compacted soil
The coal mine soil layers contained high values of bulk density of 1.80gcm-3 and 1.90gcm-3 at depths of 0-20 and 20-40 cm respectively, low contents of organic matter, soil pH and soil nutrients concentration. A field trial was conducted to investigate root growth responses of Smuts Finger grass (Digitaria eriantha cv Irene) to compacted mine soil layers. It was revealed that the greatest root masses were noted in the upper horizons with progressively significantly less in the deeper horizons. Roots of this species penetrated compacted soil layers and decreased soil bulk density. The highest soil pH values were found in the upper layers with greatest root biomass. Soil nutrients (P, Mg, Ca, Na and K) status was also better in the upper layers. Smuts Finger grass could be used as an alternative method for rehabilitation of compacted mine soil layers.
Keywords: Coal mine soil; Smuts Finger grass; Soil bulk density; Soil pH; Soil nutrients