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Investigating the Effect of a Mixed Mycorrhizal Inoculum on the Productivity of Biomass Plantation Willows Grown on Marginal Farm Land

1
Biodiversity Centre, Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale, Université de Montréal and Jardin Botanique de Montréal, Montréal, QC HIX 2B2, Canada
2
Department of Agrifood Production and Environmental Science, University of Florence, 4,50121 Firenze, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(4), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040185
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract

Inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi, proven mediators of soil fertility, has great potential in agricultural and silvicultural systems. This is particularly true in short-rotation coppices (SRCs), where questions of food displacement and fertilization are causes of concern for researchers and policy makers. We set out to thoroughly test if current inoculation methods, coupled with reduced fertilization, can demonstrate a growth benefit in SRC willows on marginal lands. Roughly 21,600 Salix miyabeana Seeman (‘SX61’ and ‘SX64’) were planted in a hierarchical design with inoculation treatments randomized first, cultivars randomized second, and fertilization treatments randomized third. This process was repeated across three fields of different marginal soil type (which, in our experiment, were given the descriptive names Sandy, Rocky, and Dry). The inoculum species, Rhizoglomus irregulare Błaszk., Wubet, Renker & Buscot Sieverd., G.A. Silva & Oehl and Hebeloma longicaudum (Pers.) P. Kumm., were chosen as they are most likely to be commercially available, and because they represent both arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal inoculum types. Growth was measured over 2.5 years, or three growing seasons. Fertilization treatment (75 kg/ha Nitrogen), however, was only applied during the second growing season. Our results conclusively showed no benefit from mycorrhizal inoculation across fields that exhibited significantly different growth rates, as well as significant differentiation from fertilization. View Full-Text
Keywords: mycorrhizal fungi; willow; inoculation; agricultural field experiment; rhizospheric soil mycorrhizal fungi; willow; inoculation; agricultural field experiment; rhizospheric soil
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Pray, T.J.; Guidi Nissim, W.; St-Arnaud, M.; Labrecque, M. Investigating the Effect of a Mixed Mycorrhizal Inoculum on the Productivity of Biomass Plantation Willows Grown on Marginal Farm Land. Forests 2018, 9, 185.

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