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Survival, Height Growth, and Phytoextraction Potential of Hybrid Poplar and Russian Olive (Elaeagnus Angustifolia L.) Established on Soils Varying in Salinity in North Dakota, USA

USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies, 5985 Highway K, Rhinelander, WI 54501, USA
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bismarck Plant Materials Center, 3308 University Drive, Bismarck, ND 58504, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 672;
Received: 24 May 2019 / Revised: 26 July 2019 / Accepted: 28 July 2019 / Published: 9 August 2019
PDF [4459 KB, uploaded 9 August 2019]


Salt-affected soils in the Northern Great Plains, USA, can impact the long-term survival and growth of trees recommended for agroforestry systems, with Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.) being one of few options that survives on these sites. Similarly, hybrid poplars have been used for phytotechnologies on high-salinity soils throughout the world. The objective of this study was to test the survival, height growth, and phytoextraction potential of eight hybrid poplar clones (Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh. × P. nigra L. ‘Robusta’, ‘DN17’, ‘DN182’, ‘DN5’; P. deltoides × P. maximowiczii A. Henry ‘NC14104’, ‘NC14106’; P. nigra × P. maximowiczii ‘NM2’, ‘NM6’) versus Russian olive grown on soils categorized according to initial salinity levels: low (0.1 to 3.9 dS m−1), medium (4.0 to 5.9 dS m−1), and high (6.0 to 10.0 dS m−1). Seven trees per genotype were grown in each salinity treatment at a spacing of 3 × 3 m for four years in Burleigh County, North Dakota. Survival and height were determined following the first four growing seasons, and leaf phytoextraction potential of Al, Ca, Cd, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, and Zn was measured for one-year-old trees. Soil salinity decreased over time, reflecting the phytoextraction potential of the trees. Russian olive did not survive as well as expected, having lower overall survival than three of the hybrid poplar clones (‘DN17’, ‘DN5’, ‘NM6’). At the end of three years when trees were removed per a landowner maintenance agreement, 86%, 71%, and 43% of the Russian olive trees were alive in the low-, medium-, and high-salinity soils, respectively. At this time, ‘NM2’ was the only hybrid poplar clone with similar survival to Russian olive in the high-salinity soils. Russian olive had greater Na, Cd, and Fe leaf concentrations than the hybrid poplar clones, but it also had the worst uptake of Ca and Mg of all genotypes. For hybrid poplar, the P. deltoides × P. nigra genomic group had the broadest clonal variability among all traits, with ‘Robusta’ and ‘DN182’ exhibiting great potential for establishment on high-salinity soils. ‘Robusta’ and ‘DN17’ are the same genotype but they came from different nursery sources (i.e., hence their different nomenclature), and they did not differ for height nor leaf phytoextraction. Populus deltoides × P. maximowiczii clones were not suitable for the soil conditions and silvicultural applications (e.g., tree shelters) of the current study, while P. nigra × P. maximowiczii clones exhibited the most stable performance across all years and salinity treatments. Both ‘NM2’ and ‘NM6’ had superior fourth-year survival and height, as well as average or above average phytoextraction of all elements tested. View Full-Text
Keywords: agroforestry; metal uptake; phytoremediation; phytotechnologies; Populus; salt uptake agroforestry; metal uptake; phytoremediation; phytotechnologies; Populus; salt uptake

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Zalesny, R.S., Jr.; Stange, C.M.; Birr, B.A. Survival, Height Growth, and Phytoextraction Potential of Hybrid Poplar and Russian Olive (Elaeagnus Angustifolia L.) Established on Soils Varying in Salinity in North Dakota, USA. Forests 2019, 10, 672.

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