Regreening Sudbury: VETAC at 50 – work still to be done – by Hugh Kruzel (Sudbury Star – October 25, 2023)

‘I am really quite amazed by what has happened when you spread some limestone’

Growing up in Sudbury many of us — as teens — roamed across a countryside made barren, blackened and rocky due to years of mining and smelting operations. The more recent generations, however, would have to go looking for examples that remain of that time.Revegetation programs have residents and visitors once again seeing a rolling verdant landscape.

“I am really quite amazed by what has happened when you spread some limestone,” said Peter Beckett, Laurentian University professor emeritus of reclamation, restoration and wetland ecology, and chair of the VETAC regreening advisory panel. “Like magic. Who would have thought?”

On its website, the City of Greater Sudbury describes how regreening operations work:

Phase 1: Apply limestone to barren landscapes to neutralize the acidity and toxicity of the soil.
Phase 2: After limestone is applied, the area is fertilized. This encourages growth and decreases the amount of toxic metals that plant roots will absorb. This is usually done in the summer.

Phase 3: In the early fall, the areas that have had limestone and fertilizer applied to them are seeded.
Phase 4: The year after the seeds are planted, grass begins to grow in those areas. Seeds from nearby trees are blown to the area and begin to take root.

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