Development of salix and populus mycorrhizae in metallic mine tailings

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Roots of two year old willow and poplar planted as cuttings in copper and iron mine tailings were stained intact and examined microscopically for mycorrhizal development. Incidence of mycorrhizae was related to tree vigor and to chemical and physical properties of the tailings. Results showed that no mycorrhizal development occurred on roots of these tree species in the copper tailings; inoculations with natural forest soil extract failed to initiate this symbiosis. Tops and roots of the willow and poplar were stunted and survival was poor. Roots in the iron mine tailings developed extensive ectomycorrhizae and trees showed good growth. Presence of mycorrhizae was confirmed and external morphology examined with the scanning electron microscope. Aseptic jack pine and naturally mycorrhizal white pine roots were used in microscopic comparisons with the hardwoods.

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Plant and Soil