New Forests

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 203–224 | Cite as

Role of weeds in the management of nitrogen in a young Pinus radiata plantation

  • P. J. Smethurst
  • E. K. S. Nambiar


Pinus radiata trees were grown on a podzolized sandy soil at a second rotation site under the following treatments: total weed control, total weed control plus ammonium nitrate, strip weed control and no weed control. During the first two summers after planting the differences in needle water potential between trees under no, strip or total weed control were very small. Despite similar rates of net N-mineralization in strip and total weed control treatments, which averaged 64 kg ha−1 yr−1 in the 0–15 cm soil depth, weeds in the strip weed control treatment reduced soil mineral-N concentrations by 50–80%, leaching of N by the end of the first growing season by 45%, foliar-N concentrations by 4–14% and stem biomass at 20 months after planting by 46%. Although N-uptake by above-ground vegetation (trees plus weeds) was 49% higher in the strip weed control treatment, the amount of N apportioned to trees during the first 20 months after planting was reduced from 15.5 to 9.0 kg ha−1. These effects of weeds were even more pronounced in the no weed control treatment. Since weeds had little effect on the needle water potential of trees and the annual rates of N-mineralization, but adversely affected N-uptake by trees, results indicate that weeds directly competed with trees for N, and thereby aggravated N-deficiency in trees. Application of ammonium nitrate after complete weed control increased foliar-N concentrations, and N-uptake and growth of trees, but also induced severe stem deformation.

Key words

weeds Pinus radiata competition nitrogen water 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Smethurst
    • 1
  • E. K. S. Nambiar
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Forestry and Forest ProductsPlantation Forest Research CentreMount GambierAustralia

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