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Forests 2012, 3(1), 95-113; doi:10.3390/f3010095

Five Year Field Evaluation of Prosopis alba Clones on pH 9–10 Soils in Argentina Selected for Growth in the Greenhouse at Seawater Salinities (45 dS m−1)

1
Universidad Católica de Santiago del Estero, Santiago del Estero, 4200, Argentina
2
School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Newins-Zeigler Hall, P.O. Box 110410, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 January 2012 / Revised: 5 March 2012 / Accepted: 7 March 2012 / Published: 16 March 2012
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Abstract

Prosopis alba seedlings, that grew at the 45 dS m−1 salinity level in a previous study of growth and survival of Argentine and Peruvian Prosopis, were propagated by rooting cuttings and established in a seed orchard/long term evaluation trial on soils with low salinity (EC 5.1–7.5 dS m−1) but high pH (8.9 to 10.2). A pH gradient occurred in the field with values ranging from pH 9.4 in block 1 to pH 10.3 in block 5. After five years growth, almost all of the clones had a mean height greater than 4 m and one clone was more than 5 m. Ten of the 21 tested clones had significantly greater biomass growth than the three seed propagated check varieties. The broad-sense (i.e., clone mean) heritability was estimated to be 0.45 for biomass, 0.53 for diameter and 0.59 for height indicating that strong genetic gains should be possible by selecting and vegetatively propagating the best genotypes. In the block with the highest pH values, two clones that appear to be P. alba × P. ruscifolia hybrids (i.e., P. vinallilo) had the greatest biomass. Correlations between growth during the last two months in the high salinity hydroponic greenhouse selection system and growth in the field were significant (R2 = 0.262) and positive, although the relationship was negative for putative P. vinallilo clones (R2 = 0.938). The several fold increase in biomass of some of the clones over the three check varieties, suggests that the greenhouse screen was successful in identifying superior salt tolerant clones. Apparently whether the greenhouse seedlings had lesser (~1 cm) to greater (~3 cm) height growth was not as important as just having a healthy live apical meristem. The observed salt tolerance of the putative P. vinalillo clones may prove useful as rootstocks for recently described high pod producing P. alba clones. View Full-Text
Keywords: agroforestry; arid; hardwood lumber; nitrogen fixation; sodic; salt tolerance agroforestry; arid; hardwood lumber; nitrogen fixation; sodic; salt tolerance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ewens, M.; Gezan, S.; Felker, P. Five Year Field Evaluation of Prosopis alba Clones on pH 9–10 Soils in Argentina Selected for Growth in the Greenhouse at Seawater Salinities (45 dS m−1). Forests 2012, 3, 95-113.

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