Experimental Plots

Field site at Daubenrather Tor

In 2012, the experimental field site of the IBG-2 was established at the Daubenrather Tor, located in the immediate vicinity of the Forschungszentrum Jülich. Seven plots of approx. 65 x 6 m each were prepared for plant cultivation under professional advice and in a joint effort with local farmers.


Since then, selected perennial and non-perennial plants are grown and investigated in terms of plant development, biomass yield and biomass utilization, all in the framework of a circular bioeconomy. This comprises the investigation of biogenic soil amendments such as biogas digestates, the application of such compounds as organic fertilizers and their effects on soil fertility and plant performance.

In the year of establishment, Silphium perfoliatum was planted, also known as “cup plant”, a perennial relative of the sunflower native to eastern and central North America and several grasses. Two genotypes of Szarvasi, a hybrid grass based on the genus Elymus obtusiflorus, were obtained from Hungary and the USA. Also, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a well known perennial “energy plant” from North America was sown. To get an estimation of the overall native soil fertility and biomass yield of a high fertilizer demanding plant, maize (Zea mays) was also cultivated. The aim on other plots was the amelioration of soil quality and suppression of weeds, thus plots were planted with white mustard and a mixture of flowering plants as annual species.

In 2013, the outermost plot was enlarged to approx. 1000 m2 and the promising perennial plant Sida hermaphrodita (L.) Rusby, also known as Virginia mallow, was established by planting seedlings. In 2015, the switchgrass plots were changed into a stand of giant miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus) a perennial grass hybrid of M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus belonging to the Poaceae family.

In summary, the current experimental IBG-2 field site at Daubenrather Tor comprises seven large plots planted with

  1. Sida hermaphrodita (L.) Rusby, Malvaceae, also known as “Virginia fanpetals” or “Virginia mallow”, a perennial species of the Malvaceae family
  2. Szarvasi from the USA and Szarvasi-1 from Hungary, two hybrid grasses of the Poaceae family
  3. Maize (Zea mays), Poaceae, planted on two experimental plots
  4. Miscanthus × giganteus, “giant miscanthus”, a perennial hybrid of M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus belonging to the Poaceae family
  5. Silphium perfoliatum, “cup plant”, a perennial Asteraceae

Damm, T.; Pattathil, S.; Gunl, M.; et al. (2017) Insights into cell wall structure of Sida hermaphrodita and its influence on recalcitrance.  Carbohydrate Ploymers 168, 94-102.  

Jablonowski, N.D.; Kollmann, T.; Nabel, M.; et al. (2017) Valorization of Sida (Sida hermaphrodita) biomass for multiple energy purposes Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 9, 202-214.

Nabel, M.; Temperton, V.M.; Poorter, H.; et al.(2016) Energizing marginal soils - The establishment of the energy crop Sida hermaphrodita as dependent on digestate fertilization, NPK, and legume intercropping Biomass & Bioenergy 87, 9-16.

Establishment of experimental plot Daubenrather Tor

Last Modified: 11.10.2022