Mosseler, A. and Major, J. E. 2014. Coppice growth responses of two North American willows in acidic clay soils on coal mine overburden. Can. J. Plant Sci. 94: 1269-1279. Acid-generating mine spoils with low pH are a major problem for revegetation and site reclamation. We compared growth responses of 15 genotypes from two widespread willow species, Salix discolor Muhl. (DIS) and S. eriocephala Michx. (ERI), native to eastern and central North America on two adjacent coal mine spoil sites that differed strongly in both pH (3.6 vs. 6.8) and soil texture. Despite significantly poorer growth responses for several coppice biomass traits on a highly acidic clay deposit compared with adjacent shale overburden, these willow clones demonstrated a surprising tolerance for extremely acidic soil conditions. Analysis of survival and growth uncovered genotype×environment interactions, indicating that both species and genotypic differences within species could be used to select better-adapted genotypes for extreme conditions. Most ERI and DIS clones grew comparatively better on the shale overburden site, but two of eight ERI clones and one of seven DIS clones grew significantly better on the acidic clay site, indicating the possibility for clonal selection for specific site adaptations within a species. Allometric relationships between coppice height and basal stem diameter were constant at both the species and site levels. However, there was a divergence of height and diameter in their relationship with green mass yields on the two different site types.
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