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Effects of Stump-treatment Substances for Root-rot Control on Ground Vegetation and Soil Properties in a Picea abies forest in Sweden

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There is increasing commercial interest in treating stumps to restrict the spread of root rot [Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref.] when thinning Swedish coniferous forests during the summer. Both chemical and biological substances are used for this purpose. During the treatment, however, a large proportion of the substance applied is spilled beside the stumps. A field study was conducted on the effects of stump-treatment substances on various ground-vegetation species in a Picea abies (L.) Karst. forest in Sweden. Three different substances commonly used in forestry were studied: urea solution (0.23 kg N m-2), borate solution (10 g B m-2) and a fungal preparation of Phlebiopsis gigantea (Fr.) Jül. spores (1 g spores m-2). The principal objectives were to assess whether any of the substances were harmful to plants and whether plant species differed in their sensitivity. Both borate and urea solution caused severe damage to most ground-vegetation species tested. Bryophytes were affected more strongly than vascular plants and urea was slightly more toxic than borate. Treatments with P. gigantea caused no obvious damage. The size and persistence of chemical changes in the soil induced by the treatments were also analysed. Transient changes were apparent in topsoil where borate or urea had been added. Very high concentrations of B were initially observed where borate had been applied, and even after 1 yr they were slightly higher than the threshold concentration at which plant injuries are expected. Urea treatment initially resulted in a pH increase of 2 units and a substantial increase in soil ammonium content. After 1 yr these effects had largely disappeared, although some increase in ammonium was still detectable.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83, Sweden

Publication date: 2000-11-25

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