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Growth and Nutrition of Jeffrey Pine Seedlings on a Sierra Nevada Surface Mine in Response to Fertilization Three Years After Planting

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Three fertilizer formulations, Hydro Agri 21-7-14, Free Flow 29-3-4, and High N 22-4-6 + Minors were evaluated for their capacity to enhance growth and nutrition of Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) on an eastern Sierra Nevada surface mine site. Site characteristics included compacted and eroded soil low in N and P but high in several potentially toxic elements. Each fertilizer formulation features a high N content but differs in several chemical characteristics, including N sources, duration of release, and inclusion of micronutrients. The fertilizers were applied by broadcasting 3 years after plantation establishment at rates of 25, 50, 75, or 100 g/seedling. Nonfertilized seedlings served as the control treatment. After five growing seasons, fertilization increased height by 143%, stem diameter by 104%, and shoot volume by 1,077% overall. The highest application rate provided the greatest growth benefit, but differences in formulation were of marginal importance in this regard. Over the course of the study, fertilization consistently increased foliar N concentrations, and at midstudy, those of P and K. However, it depressed foliar Ca throughout the study, S at midstudy, and with the exception of Cu, most micronutrient concentrations, particularly during the third and fifth seasons. Foliar Al also was reduced consistently by fertilization. These results indicate that broadcast fertilization after plantations are well established using a variety of formulations with high N content is a viable means of elevating seedling performance on eastern Sierra Nevada surface mines and similar harsh sites. West. J. Appl. For. 20(1):28–35.

Keywords: Pinus jeffreyi; environmental management; forest; forest fertilization; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; seedling nutrition

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Knudtsen Renewable Natural Resource Center University of Nevada 1000 Valley RoadReno NV 89512 Phone: (775) 784-4039;, Fax: (775) 784-4583, Email:

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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