The U.S. Bureau of Mines tested the effect of surface amendments on the colonization of volunteer trees onto unvegetated coal spoils. In the spring of 1989, barren acidic (ph 3.5) minesoils were treated with limestone (550 g m-2), fertilizer (75 g m-2 of 5-10-5), and either chipped aspen stems or chipped aspen roots (200 cm4m-2). The experimental design was a 2 x 2 x 3 factorial with three replications. Surrounding the study area were patchy, but vigorous, stands of volunteer aspens (populus tremuloids and p. Grandidentata), which produced copious seed in late may. Counts of aspen seedlings in the experimental plots were done at 2-wk intervals from June to September. Germination of aspen seeds was increased by all treatments. The highest numbers of seedlings on June 18 were observed in fertilizer-root chip plots (218 seedlings m- 2), limestone-root chip plots (140 seedlings m-2), and limestone- fertilizer-stem chip plots (121 seedlings m-2). Control plots had only 10 seedlings m-2. With the onset of dry, hot weather in July, survival of seedlings only occurred in plots that received fertilizer. Although hot and dry weather continued through August, only minor further mortality was observed. On September 9, the highest seedling densities occurred in plots that received limestone, fertilizer, and either type of wood chip treatments (11 seedlings m-2). Analyses of surface soil samples collected in September indicated that fertilizer and limestone amendments still had ameliorative effects on soil chemistry.