Utilizing Hybrid Poplar Trees to Phytoremediate Soils with Excess Phosphorus
McIntosh, Marla S
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Phytoremediation, using plants to remove soil pollutants, has been suggested as a method to remove P from over-enriched soils. This research investigated the potential of utilizing hybrid poplar trees to remove excess P from soils associated with long-term poultry manure application. Hybrid poplar clones were planted in Snow Hill, MD, on three fields differing in previous poultry manure applications with Mehlich-3 soil-test P levels of 261, 478, and 982 mg P kg-1. During this two year study, soil P decreased on fields planted with hybrid poplar; the magnitude of the reduction was positively associated with initial soil-test P. Plant tissue P concentrations increased with soil P concentration. However, factors other than plant uptake were hypothesized to contribute to the soil-test P reductions. Results suggest that hybrid poplars have the potential to phytoremediate soils with excess P but that soil chemistry also impacts the fate of available P in the soil.