Submitted to: Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/12/2005
Publication Date: 6/1/2006
Citation: Ladenburger, C.G., Hild, A.L., Kazmer, D.J., Munn, L.C. 2006. Soil salinity patterns in Tamarix invasions in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, USA. Journal of Arid Environments. 65(2006):111–128.
Interpretive Summary: Saltcedar is an exotic shrub that has invaded riparian areas throughout the western U.S. One deleterious impact of this plant documented in the southwestern U.S. is increased soil salinity, which can prevent other plant species from revegetating areas following saltcedar control. We examined soil salinity, acidity and nutrients in saltcedar stands in northcentral Wyoming. Soil salinity and acidity were generally higher underneath saltcedar plants at shallow soil depths as compared to greater soil depths underneath the plants and interspaces between saltcedars. However, soil salinities were not sufficiently high to inhibit growth of most plant species that would revegetate saltcedar sites in this region following control. As compared to southwestern U.S. saltcedar sites that have high soil salinities, the younger age of saltcedar infestations and greater frequency of flooding at the northcentral Wyoming sites probably contribute to the low soil salinities observed in this study.
Technical Abstract: Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) is an exotic, invasive shrub of riparian corridors in the western United States that can promote soil salinization via leaf exudates as Tamarix litter accumulates on the soil surface. Tamarix stands occur in association with big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), and cottonwood (Populus deltoides) in northern Wyoming, depending on topographic position. Revegetation of Tamarix-invaded sites can be limited by altered soil conditions. Tamarix stands in northcentral Wyoming were selected to determine the relationship of Tamarix shrubs and associated vegetation to soil salinity, pH, and nutrients. In general, salinity of surface soils (0–5 cm) was greater and pH was lower than in deeper soils. Surface soils (0–5 cm) beneath Tamarix have greater salinity and lower pH than soil in interspaces. Because soil salinity in the Bighorn Basin is lower than levels documented in most Tamarix stands of the southwestern United States, many species used for revegetation should tolerate soil conditions here following Tamarix control.