Mycorrhizal status of forest trees grown in urban and rural environments in Poland

Jolanta Tyburska, Anna Frymark-Szymkowiak, Magdalena Kulczyk-Skrzeszewska, Barbara Kieliszewska-Rokicka



Mycorrhizal status of mature forest trees (horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum L.; white poplar, Populus alba L.; black poplar, P. nigra L.) was investigated in urban habitats under different intensity of anthropogenic pressures (restricted root zone, soil compaction, low air and soil humidity), compared to trees grown in rural environments that were used as reference biological material. Horse chestnut roots were colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and the two poplar species (white poplar and black poplar) were dually colonized by AM and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi, regardless of habitat, except P. nigra grown close to a trafficked street, which had only ECM associations. The AM colonization of horse chestnut roots was higher in May than October, regardless of habitat and showed a tendency to be lower in the roots of trees from urban environments, however, only mycorrhizal frequency differed significantly between the urban habitat and the reference plot. In roots of two poplar species the intensity of AM colonization was significantly lower in disturbed urban habitats than in the rural sites. ECM colonization of white poplar did not differ between the urban and rural environments, and in black poplar roots it was lower at the city sites than in the reference plot. Significantly lower levels of available magnesium and total carbon was recorded in soils at the urban sites compared to reference plots. The concentrations of the other macro- and microelements did not differ significantly. A tendency to reduced water content in two of three urban sites was also recorded. The results indicated that mycorrhizal fungi native of urban habitats are able to develop effective symbiosis with mature tree roots and they suggested that environmental factors, such as availability of water and nutrient and carbohydrates production and allocation, are the most important factor influencing the mycorrhizal colonization of urban trees.


arbuscular mycorrhiza, ectomycorrhiza, Aesculus hippocastanum, Populus alba, Populus nigra

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