The responses of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) foliar boron (B) concentrations to artificial defoliation by green pruning were studied by examining sample trees for 3 years after the treatments. In winter, concentrations of boron in foliage were determined individually from
needles on the lateral top shoots of 168 sample trees (at the beginning 2–8 m, at the end 4–10 m tall). To prevent the pruning residues from affecting the nutrition of the sample trees, all pruned branches were transported away from the research area. Before pruning, there were
no differences in foliar B among the pruning classes. Reduction of the living crown by pruning (LCRP, % of the initial crown ratio) 50% or more increased the concentrations of foliar B drastically for 3 years. The increase was greatest in the largest trees with the highest LCRP (about 70%),
where the mean concentrations of foliar B one year after pruning were nearly 180% higher than in the unpruned trees. Pruning of the dead branch whorls or only the few lowest living whorls did not affect the boron nutrition of the trees. In the current study, the ability of rapid and sufficiently
large defoliation to increase B concentrations for several years in the Scots pine foliage was confirmed experimentally; earlier suggestions have been based on analyses made after defoliation. The potential suitability of green pruning is discussed as a method for improving the boron status
of trees in boron-deficient areas.
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