BUCK, MEGHAN*, TERESA HINZ, GERRY SAUNDERS, and ROBERT REINSVOLD. Department of Biology, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639. - Effect of magnesium chloride on Pinus contorta seedlings.
The objective of this study was to examine the effect of a magnesium
chloride spray application on pine seedlings. Magnesium chloride is
used statewide in Colorado as a soil stabilizer on dirt roads and a
de-icing agent for roadways in winter. Magnesium chloride is replacing
sodium chloride in these uses because of the reduced corrosive
effects. However, little is known about the ecological effects of
magnesium chloride on roadside vegetation. In a controlled greenhouse
experiment, we examined the effect of three concentrations of
reagent-grade magnesium chloride (0.74M, 1.48M, and 2.22M) and one
concentration (1.48M) of the commercially available magnesium chloride
(DustgardŽ) on 1.25 years-old Pinus contorta seedlings.
Chlorophyll content, shoot biomass, needle biomass, and length of new
needles were measured over a 60-day period. The biomass of needles and
length of new needles were significantly reduced compared to the
control. Aerial drift of magnesium chloride on roadside vegetation had
an advance impact on pine health and vigor.
Key words: Pinus contorta, de-icing agents, lodgepole pine, magnesium chloride, seedling growth, soil stabilizers