University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Hydraulic fracturing is the process of injecting aqueous solutions at high pressure to break apart rock formations and increase the extraction of natural gas. The solutions are recovered and have been land-applied as one disposal technique. Excessive fluid application can result in increased soil salinity that can inhibit plant growth. The objective of this greenhouse study was to evaluate the effects of inorganic fertilizer, broiler litter, and Milorganite® and soil depth interval (0-15 cm or 0-30 cm) on the growth of bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers] in soil that was collected from a site that had been contaminated with fracturing fluid and was initially devoid of vegetation. Amendment rates were added to provide 60 mg of plant-available N/kg. Bermudagrass was sprigged and harvested after nine weeks and shoot, root, and total biomass were determined. Addition of inorganic fertilizer, broiler litter, or Milorganite® resulted in greater shoot biomass compared to unamended soil. Plants grown in 0-30-cm-depth soil had greater root biomass compared to the 0-15-cm soil depth. The addition of recommended plant nutrients and mixing of the contaminated surface soil with the subsurface soil enhanced bermudagrass growth