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Effects of cutting size on performance of black willow (Salix nigra) stakes - Abstract
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Willows grown in greenhouse under controlled conditions

Riverbank restoration projects often utilize large diameter black willow cuttings. However, the potential exists that smaller size cuttings alone or in combination may improve success. Additionally, the effects of soil moisture conditions and the potential interaction between initial size of the cutting and soil moisture regime have not yet been addressed. Replicated cuttings with basal diameters measuring 1 cm, 5 cm, or 10 cm were placed in three soil moisture regimes including well-watered, periodically flooding, and drought. Under periodic flooded conditions, 10 cm cuttings had greater leaf number and mass (p<0.05), leaf area index (p<0.05), shoot mass (p<0.05), root mass (p<0.05), and height growth (p<0.05) compared to 1 and 5 cm cuttings.

Survival was best for 1 cm cuttings in all three moisture regimes (100%) and for 10 cm cuttings under flooded conditions (100%). Growth and biomass of 10 cm cuttings was significantly reduced by drought compared to periodic flooding treatment (p=0.02).  Based on these data, it is concluded that planting strategies using 1 cm cuttings of black willow in any given moisture regime will result in increased survival rates. Planting larger cuttings, however, may improve overall restoration success. The technique of planting a combination of these three diameters may help to further slow erosion and stabilize streambanks


Materials and Methods