Land subsidence induced by underground coal mining leads to severe ecological and environmental problems. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have the potential to improve plant growth and soil properties. We aimed to assess the effects of AMF on the growth and soil properties of sea buckthorn under field conditions at different reclamation times. Inoculation with AMF significantly promoted the survival rate of sea buckthorn over a 50-month period, while also increasing plant height after 14, 26, and 50 months. Crown width after 14 months and ground diameter after 50 months of inoculation treatment were significantly higher than in the uninoculated treatment. AMF inoculation significantly improved plant mycorrhizal colonization rate and promoted an increase in mycelial density in the rhizosphere soil. The pH and electrical conductivity of rhizosphere soil also increased after inoculation. Moreover, after 26 and 50 months the soil organic matter in the inoculation treatment was significantly higher than in the control. The number of inoculated soil rhizosphere microorganisms, as well as acid phosphatase activity, also increased. AMF inoculation may play an active role in promoting plant growth and improving soil quality in the long term and is conducive to the rapid ecological restoration of damaged mining areas.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, growth, mining subsidence, rhizosphere environment, sea buckthorn