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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 3, p. 1055-1061
    Received: Dec 16, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): dgilmore@umn.edu


Hybrid Poplar and Forest Soil Response to Municipal and Industrial By-Products

  1. Molly A. Cavaleria,
  2. Daniel W. Gilmore *b,
  3. Morteza Mozaffaric,
  4. Carl J. Rosend and
  5. Thomas R. Halbachd
  1. a Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Watershed Stewardship, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523
    b Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, North Central Research and Outreach Center, 1861 Highway 169 East, Grand Rapids, MN 55744-3396
    c Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, Marianna, AR 72360
    d Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, University of Minnesota, 439 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul, MN 55108


Little research has been conducted in the Lake States (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) to evaluate the effects of municipal and industrial by-product applications on the early growth of short rotation woody crops such as hybrid poplar. Anticipated shortages of harvestable-age aspen in the next decade can be alleviated and rural development can be enhanced through the application of by-products to forest soils. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of inorganic fertilizer, boiler ash, biosolids, and the co-application of ash and biosolids application on tree growth and soil properties by measuring hybrid poplar clone NM-6 (Populus nigra L. × P. maximowiczii A. Henry) yield, nutrient uptake, and select post-harvest soil properties after 15 wk of greenhouse growth. Treatments included a control of no amendment; agricultural lime; inorganic N, P, and K; three types of boiler ash; biosolids application rates equivalent to 70, 140, 210, and 280 kg available N ha−1; and boiler ash co-applied with biosolids. All of the by-products treatments showed biomass production that was equal to or greater than inorganic fertilizer and lime treatments. A trend of increased biomass with increasing rates of biosolids was observed. Soil P concentration increased with increasing rates of biosolids application. None of the by-products treatments resulted in plant tissue metal concentrations greater than metal concentrations of plant tissue amended with inorganic amendments. Biosolids, boiler ash, and the co-application of biosolids and boiler ash together on forest soils were as beneficial to plant growth as inorganic fertilizers.

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