Hybrid poplar and forest soil response to municipal and industrial by products: A greenhouse study

Molly A. Cavaleri, Daniel W. Gilmore, Morteza Mozaffari, Carl J. Rosen, Thomas R. Halbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Little research has been conducted in the Lake States (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) to evaluate the effects of municipal and industrial by-product applications on the early growth of short rotation woody crops such as hybrid poplar. Anticipated shortages of harvestable-age aspen in the next decade can be alleviated and rural development can be enhanced through the application of by-products to forest soils. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of inorganic fertilizer, boiler ash, biosolids, and the co-application of ash and biosolids application on tree growth and soil properties by measuring hybrid poplar clone NM-6 (Populus nigra L. × P. maximowiczii A. Henry) yield, nutrient uptake, and select post-harvest soil properties after 15 wk of greenhouse growth. Treatments included a control of no amendment; agricultural lime; inorganic N, P, and K; three types of boiler ash; biosolids application rates equivalent to 70, 140, 210, and 280 kg available N ha-1; and boiler ash co-applied with biosolids. All of the by-products treatments showed biomass production that was equal to or greater than inorganic fertilizer and lime treatments. A trend of increased biomass with increasing rates of biosolids was observed. Soil P concentration increased with increasing rates of biosolids application. None of the by-products treatments resulted in plant tissue metal concentrations greater than metal concentrations of plant tissue amended with inorganic amendments. Biosolids, boiler ash, and the co-application of biosolids and boiler ash together on forest soils were as beneficial to plant growth as inorganic fertilizers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1061
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


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