Influence of nursery soil amendments on water relations, root architectural development, and field performance of Douglas-fir transplants

Authors: Jacobs, D.F.1; Rose, R.2; Haase, D.L.2; Morgan, P.D.3

Source: New Forests, Volume 26, Number 3, November 2003 , pp. 263-277(15)

Publisher: Springer

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This experiment evaluated the influence of manure, peat, and vermiculite incorporated at low and high rates (0.0118 and 0.0236 m3/m2) and under two soil moisture regimes on Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedling (1+0 for 1+1) xylem water potential (Ψxylem), whole-plant growth, root architectural development, and subsequent field performance under fertilized and non-fertilized conditions. Trends in soil moisture retention were observed (high manure > high peat > control) but there were no differences in Ψxylem. Root length in the wetter soil moisture experiment was initially (three months) greatest for seedlings in high vermiculite and least in high manure but there were no differences among treatments at lifting (eight months). Mean height was greatest for seedlings grown in vermiculite and peat (wetter nursery experiment) after two field seasons. Field fertilization (35 g/seedling) with controlled-release fertilizer in the planting hole stimulated height growth initially, but decreased height and diameter growth during the second growing season. Dramatic improvements associated with the use of nursery soil amendments were not realized, but the failure to identify negative effects, a potential reduction in disease incidence, and improvement of nursery soil physical and chemical properties may justify their use.

Keywords: Compost; Fertilization; Manure; Outplanting; Peat; Soil moisture; Vermiculite

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Richardson Hall 321, Corvallis, 97331-5752, USA; Current address: Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC). Purdue University, W 2: Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Richardson Hall 321, Corvallis, 97331-5752, USA 3: Oregon Department of Forestry, D.L. Phipps Nursery, 2424 Wells Road, Elkton, 97436, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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