We studied the decay and nitrogen dynamics of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) litter in fertilized and unfertilized Minnesota old fields, using the litterbag technique. Annual decay rates and nitrogen leaching losses during the first month of decay were highly correlated with N content of litter and not with fertilizer additions. After the first month of decay, nitrogen was immobilized for at least 18 months. In contrast to decay rates and early N leaching losses, these immobilization rates were correlated with the amount of ammonium nitrate added in fertilizer rather than with initial %N. Therefore, litter quality and exogenous nitrogen supply appear to have different and independent effects on decay rates and N dynamics of little bluestem litter.
- Schizachyrium scoparium