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Root Egress and Field Performance of Actively Growing Betula pendula Container Seedlings

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the possibility of enlarging the planting window of container-grown silver birch seedlings from spring and autumn to summer by planting young, actively growing seedlings. For over 3 yrs the study investigated the growth, survival and damage of silver birch seedlings grown in containers and planted at different times during the growing season on 18 sites in fields and forest sites in central Finland. In a pot experiment in the greenhouse, the root-egress ability of seedlings planted at different times during the growing season was monitored. Root egress of seedlings was rapid from the beginning of July to the middle of August. Actively growing seedlings planted in summer on a site suitable for silver birch grew and survived at least as well as seedlings planted in spring during the dormant stage. The risk of drought stress increased when seedlings were planted on easily drying, coarse sandy soils. The risk was also high in soils with high levels of fine soil fractions that become hard when dry and when the dry period continued for several weeks before planting. In conclusion, it is possible to enlarge the planting window of birch seedlings to July and the beginning of August by using actively growing container seedlings.

Keywords: container size; diameter growth; field performance; height growth; hot-lifting; planting date; root growth; silver birch; summer planting

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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