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The effects of calcium on stem lesions of silver birch seedlings

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Abstract:

Summary

In this study, we tested the hypothesis that decreased liming of growth medium has a role in the increase of stem lesions and top dying caused by Phytophthora cactorum in containerized silver birch seedlings (Betula pendula) in Finnish forest nurseries. The effect of limestone dose rates on growth and the nutrient status was also monitored. An index based on severity of symptom expression was used to compare the effect of different liming treatments on P. cactorum infection. Limestone amended into the sphagnum peat growth medium increased the amount of calcium in the seedling stems. Liming did not significantly decrease the disease severity although index values in most cases decreased with the increased limestone dose rates. In general, the lesions were restricted after out-planting and the mortality of seedlings was low. Only inoculated seedlings on which the lesions had spread around the stem in the nursery died. Phytophthora cactorum appears to be a nursery pathogen, as it did not survive under conditions present in the field. Four years after out-planting, the tallest birches were those grown in sphagnum peat amended with the highest limestone dose of 8 kg m−3.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0329.2007.00484.x

Affiliations: 1: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, PO Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland., Email: arja.lilja@metla.fi 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Suonenjoki Research Unit, Suonenjoki, Finland

Publication date: April 1, 2007

bsc/efp/2007/00000037/00000002/art00003
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