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Effects of nutrient loading and fertilization at planting on growth and nutrient status of Lutz spruce (Picea x lutzii) seedlings during the first growing season in Iceland

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The low availability of nitrogen (N) is believed to be one of the major limiting factors of forest regeneration in Iceland and frequently under Boreal conditions. Lutz spruce (Picea x lutzii Littl.) seedlings were nutrient loaded using four fertilization regimes in the end of nursery rotation in autumn 2008 and planted in the following spring, with or without a single dose of fertilizer, on two treeless sites in N-Iceland with contrasting soil fertility. Measurements were made after one growing season. The highest loading level without additional field fertilization increased new needle mass by 122% and 152%, for the poor and more fertile site, respectively. The highest loading level with field fertilization increased new needle mass equally, by 188% and 189%, for the poor and more fertile site, respectively. Retranslocation of N, from old needles to current needles, increased with more loading. However, it was clear that nutrient loading could not replace field fertilization, as the seedlings generally showed an additive response to field fertilization and nutrient loading; doing both always gave the best results in seedling performance. As the study only covers field establishment during the first year, the long-term effect of nutrient loading of Lutz spruce cannot be predicted. However, it was concluded that loading might provide an additional input for faster plantation establishment during the first growing season after planting.
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Keywords: Lutz spruce seedlings; field fertilization; nutrient loading; seedling establishment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Norðandsskógar, Krókeyri, IS-600, Akureyri, Iceland 2: Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Agricultural University of Iceland, Hvanneyri, IS-311, Borgarnes, Iceland 3: School of Industrial Technology and Management, Dalarna University, 791 88, Falun, Sweden

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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