Comparision of Establishment of Saltcedar and Cottonwood

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Comparison of establishment of Cottonwood and Saltcedar

Cottonwood (Populus spp.) is native to several temperate and boreal regions of North America where decrease in floodwaters exposes minerals in the soil surfaces. Cottonwoods are ecologically important to arid regions of western and southwestern North America because of the absence of other native tree species as their replacements (Rood and Mahoney, 1990; Cooper et al. 1999). Cottonwoods are prone to high invasion in riparian ecosystems as a result of large amount of hydrological disturbance in such areas (Tabacchi 1995).

Cottonwood trees can be either male or female both of which contain flowers clustered in catkins (Braatne et al. 1996). Seeds produced by both flowers are reported to be greater than twenty five millions per tree annually (Schreiner 1974). Since the seed viability is very less lasting for 1-2 weeks under natural conditions and 2-3 days under wet conditions germination of seeds must occur in short period of time. Cottonwoods can also reproduce asexually through crown breakage and tree fall during wind storms and flooding events. The broken branches after being buried in sediment sprout and develop strong shoots. Species, climatic condition and drainage basin of the area determines whether the seedlings are established more from sexual reproduction or asexual propagules may outdo seedlings in growth and competition (Braatne et al. 1996).

Cottonwood seedlings are poor competitors and their establishment depends on temporal and spatial variation in suitable sites. If sufficient rainfall occurs in growing season seedling establishment is substantially increased even in disturbed non-alluvial environments (Braatne et al. 1996). Cottonwood seedlings are shade intolerant (Braatne et al. 1996) and seedlings are established due to large, relatively infrequent floods (Scott et al. 1997). Both…...

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