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The Effect of Tephra Deposition and Planting Treatment on Soil Oxygen Levels and Water Relations of Newly Planted Seedlings

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Seedlings planted in late June 1980 near Mount St. Helens, following the May 18 and 25 eruptions, continuously lost vigor. Studies on seedlings planted in April 1981 were conducted in 1981-82 on sites covered with 10 to 35 cm of tephra. Soil oxygen levels measured at 10 and 20 cm depths below the tephra surface decreased with increasing tephra thickness, tephra moisture, and sampling depth in the tephra. In addition, the method of planting appeared to affect soil oxygen levels. Holes dug into the tephra for planting seedlings in the mineral soil allowed water and fine particles to collect and possibly interfere with soil gas exchange. However, oxygen levels were never less than 11 percent and generally about 14 percent. Levels were never low enough to result in a root oxygen stress. Measurement of the oxygen diffusion coefficient in tephra and the physical characterization of the tephra failed to demonstrate the existence of any unusual features that might lead to the development of an oxygen stress. A controlled environment study was conducted to observe seedlings under conditions of tephra coverage of the soil. The water relations of these seedlings indicated no response due to a root oxygen stress. The lack of oxygen stress in the field corresponded with the maintenance of high vigor in seedlings planted in 1981. Forest Sci. 31:109-116.

Keywords: Mount St. Helens; oxygen diffusion

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Weyerhaeuser Forestry Research Center, Centralia, WA 98531

Publication date: 1985-03-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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