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      Responses of Reclamation Plants to High Root Zone pH: Effects of Phosphorus and Calcium Availability.

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      Journal of environmental quality
      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Low phosphorus (P) availability and high pH inhibit plant growth in calcareous soils and some oil sands reclamation sites in northeastern Alberta, Canada. In this study, we used a split-root hydroponic setup to test the effects of supplemental P with different calcium (Ca) concentrations and root-zone pH conditions on the growth and physiological response of trees commonly found in the region: paper birch ( Marsh.), trembling aspen ( Michx.), green alder [ (Chaix) DC.], and black spruce [ (Mill.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.] seedlings. Plant roots were divided and treated with different combinations of P (0.5 and 15 mmol L), Ca (2 and 50 mmol L), and pH (5.0 and 9.0) for 6 wk. After that time, we measured seedling height, net photosynthesis and transpiration rates, and the concentration of chlorophyll and different elements in the leaves. Plant responses varied between species; black spruce was most resistant to high pH and high Ca concentrations. We did not find any strong beneficial effects of adding P to plants subjected to high root zone pH and high Ca concentration. However, exposure of part of the root system to low pH alleviated the effects of high pH, likely through the improved supply of micronutrients. Because pH conditions are often not uniform in disturbed sites and reclamation soils, our findings may help improve potential reclamation and phytoremediation strategies for the oil sands, bauxite, and coal-combustion residue utilization industries.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Environ Qual
          Journal of environmental quality
          Wiley
          0047-2425
          0047-2425
          Sep 2016
          : 45
          : 5
          Article
          10.2134/jeq2016.01.0026
          27695751
          fca10fa8-3284-4c65-9840-7dcf1dd8977c
          Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.
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