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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Responses of Non-Dormant Black Willow (Salix Nigra) Cuttings to Pre-Planting Soaking and Soil Moisture

Authors
item Pezeshki, S - UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
item Brown, C - UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
item Elcan, J - UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
item Shields Jr, Fletcher

Submitted to: Journal of Restoration Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 16, 2004
Publication Date: March 1, 2005
Citation: Pezeshki, S.R., Brown, C.E., Elcan, J.M., Shields Jr., F.D. 2005. Responses of non-dormant black willow (Salix nigra) cuttings to pre-planting soaking and soil moisture. Journal of Restoration Ecology. 13(1):1-7.

Interpretive Summary: Stream channel erosion results in degraded water quality, loss of land, and ecological damage. Willow trees, which root from cuttings, are effective and economical plants for re-establishing woody vegetation for stabilization of eroding stream channels. Laboratory and field experiments have shown that soaking dormant cuttings in water prior to planting increases survival and growth rates, but similar information is not available for cuttings taken from actively growing willows. A laboratory experiment was conducted to compare the performance of actively growing willow cuttings soaked in water for 7 and 15 days and with unsoaked cuttings. Soaking for 7 days resulted in greater growth and survival, but 15 days of soaking proved to be detrimental. These findings may be used to enhance the efficiency of stream bank and riparian zone restoration projects.

Technical Abstract: The use of willow cuttings for streambank stabilization is a common practice in riparian ecosystems throughout the United States. Factors such as pre-planting treatments, planting methods, and physiological status of cuttings (dormant vs. actively growing) influence the survival and success of willow cuttings. Actively growing (non-dormant) black willow (Salix nigra) cuttings, 30 cm in length and 1 cm in diameter at the base, were subjected to three soaking treatments (0, 7, and 15 days) prior to planting. Following the initial treatment, cuttings were grown in a greenhouse in pots under three soil moisture regimes (well-watered but not flooded, permanently flooded, and intermittently flooded). Plant gas exchange, growth, biomass, and survival were measured. Results demonstrated that soaking for 7 days was beneficial to early development of cuttings particularly in the control soil moisture regime enhancing percent bud flush and survival significantly. However, 15 days of soaking proved to be detrimental to survival of cuttings irrespective of soil moisture regime. Results also demonstrated that 7-day soaking had some benefits for the cuttings, but such benefit was dependent on the soil moisture conditions. Therefore, if field planting utilizes non-dormant black willow cuttings, a short-term soaking should be considered only if the planting site is likely to present ample soil moisture but non-flooded conditions.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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