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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Ecosystem Restoration

Effect of Water Table on Willows Grown in Amended Mine Tailing


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 34 No. 3, p. 782-792
    Received: Mar 29, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): jbrummer@lamar.colostate.edu
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  1. M. M. Bourreta,
  2. J. E. Brummer *b,
  3. W. C. Leiningera and
  4. D. M. Heilc
  1. a Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Watershed Stewardship, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523
    b Western Colorado Research Center, P.O. Box 598, Gunnison, CO 81230
    c Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523


Survival and growth characteristics of two montane riparian willow species, Geyer willow (Salix geyeriana Andersson) and mountain willow (Salix monticola Bebb), grown in amended fluvial mine tailing were investigated in a greenhouse study. Willow stem cuttings were planted in lysimeters that simulated a 60-cm amended tailing profile with three static water depths (20, 40, and 60 cm) and a fluctuating water table for a total of four water table treatments. Species and water table treatments affected plant biomass and chemical composition of the soil and plant tissue. Mountain willow leaf, stem, and root biomass were 62, 95, and 164% greater, respectively, than for Geyer willow. Averaging across species, the fluctuating water table negatively affected leaf and stem biomass compared with the 20- and 60-cm water table treatments. Manganese was the only metal in plant tissue to strongly respond to water table treatments. Manganese concentrations in mountain willow leaf tissue were approximately twofold higher in the two most saturated water table treatments (20 cm and fluctuating) than in the least saturated water table treatment (60 cm). This trend was consistent with chemical analyses of the growth media, which reflected higher bioavailable Mn in the saturated tailing profile compared with the unsaturated profile. Results from this study indicate that mountain willow is a more vigorous and possibly more metal-tolerant species than Geyer willow when grown in amended mine tailing and that a fluctuating water table negatively affects willow growth.

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