Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Early colonization of red alder and Douglas fir by ectomycorrhizal fungi and Frankia in soils from the Oregon coast range


The potential for mycorrhizal formation and Frankia nodulation were studied in soils from six sites in the Pacific Northwest. The sites included young and old alder stands, a 1-year-old conifer clear-cut, a young conifer plantation, and rotation-aged and old-growth conifer stands. A bioassay procedure was used with both red alder and Douglas fir seedlings as hosts. After 6 weeks growth, seedlings of both hosts were harvested every 3 weeks for 21 weeks and numbers of nodules and ectomycorrhizal types estimated. Nodules formed on red alder and ectomycorrhizae formed on both alder and Douglas fir in soil from all sites. Nodulation potential was highest in soil from the alder stands and the conifer plantation. Seven morphologically distinct ectomycorrhizal types were recovered on Douglas fir and five on alder. Only Thelephora terrestris, a broad-host-range mycobiont, formed mycorrhizae on both hosts. New ectomycorrhizal types formed on both hosts throughout the bioassay. Ectomycorrhizal colonization of alder was greatest in the alder and clear-cut soils. Low ectomycorrhizal colonization on alder was found in soils from sites where conifers were actively growing. Ectomycorrhizal colonization of Douglas fir was highest in the young alder and conifer plantation soils and was low in the rotation-aged conifer soil. The highest diversity of ectomycorrhizal types was found on alder in the conifer clear-cut soil and on Douglas fir in the rotation-aged conifer soil. Effects of host specificity, nodulation and mycorrhiza-forming potential and nodule-mycorrhiza interactions on seedling establishment are discussed in relation to seral stage dynamics and attributes of pioneer ectomycorrhizal fungal species.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Becking JH (1970) Plant-endophyte symbiosis in non-leguminous plants. Plant Soil 32:611–654

  2. Binkley D (1983) Interaction of site fertility and red alder on ecosystem production in Douglas fir plantations. For Ecol Manag 5:215–227

  3. Binkley D (1984) Importance of size-density relationships in mixed stands of Douglas fir and red alder. For Ecol Manag 9:81–85

  4. Binkley D, Lousier JD, Cromack K Jr (1984) Ecosystem effects of Sitka alder in a Douglas fir plantation. For Sci 30:26–35

  5. Bormann BT (1983) Ecological implications of phytochrome-mediated seed germination in red alder. For Sci 29:734–738

  6. Dijk C van (1979) Endophyte distribution in the soil. In: Gordon JC, Wheeler CT, Perry DA (eds) Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in the management of temperate forests. Oregon State University, Forest Research Laboratory, Corvallis, pp 84–94

  7. Dijk C van (1984) Ecological aspects of spore formation in the Frankia-Alnus symbiosis. PhD thesis, State University, Leiden

  8. Fleming LV (1983) Succession of mycorrhizal fungi on birch: infection of seedlings planted around mature trees. Plant Soil 71:263–267

  9. Fleming LV (1984) Effects of soil trenching and coring on the formation of ectomycorrhiza on birch seedlings grown around mature trees. New Phytol 98:143–153

  10. Fowells HA (1965) Silvics of forest trees of the United States. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Agriculture Handbook no 271, pp 83–88

  11. Froidevaux L (1973) The ectomycorrhizal association, Alnus rubra and Lactarius obscuratus. Can J For Res 3:601–603

  12. Harley JL, Smith SE (1983) Mycorrhizal symbiosis. Academic Press, London

  13. Holman RM, Schwintzer CR (1987) Distribution of spore-positive and spore-negative nodules of Alnus incana ssp. rugosa in Maine, USA. Plant Soil 104:103–111

  14. Ingestad T (1980) Growth, nutrition, and nitrogen fixation in grey alder at varied rate of nitrogen addition. Physiol Plant 50:353–364

  15. Kropp BR, Trappe JM (1982) Ectomycorrhizal fungi of Tsuga heterophylla. Mycologia 74:479–488

  16. Last FT, Mason PA, Wilson J, Ingleby K, Munro RC, Fleming LV, Deacon JW (1985) ‘Epidemiology’ of sheating (ecto-)mycorrhizas in unsterile soils: a case study of Betula pendula. Proc R Soc Edinburgh 85B:299–315

  17. Mikola P (1970) Mycorrhizal inoculations in afforestation. Int Rev For Res 3:123–196

  18. Miller SL, Koo CD, Molina RJ (1991) Characterization of red alder ectomycorrhizae. Can J Bot 69:515–531

  19. Molina R (1979) Pure culture synthesis and host specificity of red alder mycorrhizae. Can J Bot 57:1223–1228

  20. Molina R (1981) Ectomycorrhizal specificity in the genus Alnus. Can J Bot 59:325–334

  21. Molina R, Trappe J (1982) Lack of mycorrhizal specificity by the ericaceous hosts Arbutus menziesii and Arctostaphylos uvaursi. New Phytol 90:495–509

  22. Newton M, El-Hassan BA, Zavitovski J (1968) Role of red alder in western Oregon forest succession. In: Trappe J, Franklin JF, Tarrant RF, Hansen GM (eds) Biology of alder. Pacific Northwest Forest Range Experimental Station, pp 73–84

  23. Parke JL, Linderman RG, Trappe JM (1984) Inoculum potential of ectomycorrhizal fungi in forest soils of southwest Oregon and northern California. For Sci 30:300–304

  24. Perry DA, Meyer MM, Egeland D, Roe SL, Pilz D (1982) Seedling growth and mycorrhizal formation in clearcut and adjacent undisturbed soils in Montana: a greenhouse bioassay. For Ecol Manag 4:261–273

  25. Perry DA, Margolis H, Choquette C, Molina R, Trappe JM (1989) Ectomycorrhizal mediation of competition between coniferous tree species. New Phytol 112:501–511

  26. Phillips JM, Hayman DS (1970) Improved procedures for clearing roots and staining parasitic and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for rapid assessment of infection. Trans Br Mycol Soc 55:158–160

  27. Pilz DP, Perry DA (1984) Impact of clearcutting and slash burning on ectomycorrhizal associations of Douglas fir seedlings. Can J For Res 14:94–100

  28. Rose SL (1980) Mycorrhizal associations of some actinomycete nodulated nitrogen-fixing plants. Can J Bot 58:1449–1454

  29. Schoenberger MM, Perry DA (1982) The effect of soil disturbance on growth and ectomycorrhizae of Douglas fir and western hemlock seedlings: a greenhouse bioassay. Can J For Res 12:343–353

  30. Tarrant RF, Trappe JM (1971) The role of alder in improving the forest environment. Plant Soil, Special volume 1971:335–348

  31. Trappe JM (1962) Fungus associates of ectotrophic mycorrhizae. Bot Rev 28:538–606

  32. Trappe JM (1979) Mycorrhiza-nodule-host interrelationships in symbiotic nitrogen fixation: a quest in need of questers. In: Gordon JC, Wheeler CT, Perry DA (eds) Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in the management of temperate forests. Oregon State University Forest Research Laboratory, Corvallis, pp 276–286

  33. Weber A (1986) Distribution of spore-positive and spore-negative nodules in stands of Alnus glutinosa and Alnus incana in Finland. Plant Soil 96:205–213

  34. Wollum AG, Youngberg CT, Chichester FW (1968) Relation of previous timber and stand age to nodulation of Ceanothus velutinus. For Sci 14:114–118

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Miller, S.L., Koo, C.D. & Molina, R. Early colonization of red alder and Douglas fir by ectomycorrhizal fungi and Frankia in soils from the Oregon coast range. Mycorrhiza 2, 53–61 (1992).

Download citation

Key words

  • Ectomycorrhizae
  • Frankia
  • Propagules
  • Nodules
  • Succession