Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Determining How Soil Amendments Enhance the Recovery of Ammophila breviligulata Following Dune Die-Off Events in Coastal New England


Coastal dunes are valued for habitat provision and flood protection. The dominant dune plant in New England, American beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata) stabilizes dunes by trapping sand and slowing erosion. The system's natural mechanism to stabilize sediment and protect coasts from erosion may be threatened by die-off, a rapidly spreading blight affecting coastal dunes from Maine to Virginia. To determine whether soil amendments could help mitigate die-off and aid recovery, fertilizer and lime were applied to dunes at three sites that had recently been defoliated by die-off and subsequently replanted. The lime+fertilizer treatment resulted in a significantly greater percentage of live plants and percentage of cover of A. breviligulata, as well as greater total plant cover. The combined application of lime and fertilizer may hasten recovery from die-off and improve restoration success in the region.

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Journal of Coastal Research



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