Foliar concentrations of volunteer willows growing on polluted sediment-derived sites versus sites with baseline contamination levels†
Many alluvial soils along navigable waterways are affected by disposal of dredged sediments or overbank sedimentation and contain metal concentrations that are elevated compared to baseline levels. Uptake patterns for metals and other elements by several volunteer Salix species growing on these sites were determined during a growing season in field plots and compared with the same species growing on soils with baseline contamination levels. For Cd and Zn, foliar concentrations were clearly higher on dredged sediment landfills. Uptake patterns differed significantly between species. A high uptake of Mn and low uptake of Cu, K and S in S. cinerea was attributed to wetland soil chemistry. Site effects on metal uptake were evaluated in more detail for Salix cinerea and S. alba growing on different sediment-derived sites under field conditions. Foliar Cd concentrations were higher in S. cinerea than in S. alba. This appeared to be a genetic feature not influenced by soil chemical properties, as it was observed both on clean sites and polluted sediment-derived sites. For S. cinerea, soil chemistry was reflected in foliar concentrations, while foliar Cd concentrations and bioavailability were found to be independent of the thickness of the polluted horizon. Dredged sediment landfills and freshwater tidal marshes with comparable Cd soil pollution had significantly different foliar Cd concentrations.