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Structure and seasonal distribution of litterfall in young plantations of Populus ‘Tristis#1’

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Litterfall was sampled in 3- to 7-year-old irrigated and fertilized plantings of Populus ‘Tristis#1’ in northern Wisconsin. Leaves accounted for more than 90 per cent of the total litter and reached an asymptotic value of about 4,000 to 4,200 kg/ha. Leaf litterfall culminated in late September or first half of October. Inadequate light appeared to be responsible for an early (June) leaf fall in dense plantings. The maximum cumulative leaf area index ranged from 8.4 to 8.7. The pattern of foliation and defoliation was similar: it started with small leaves in the lower canopy and ended with large leaves of the upper canopy. Longevity of the small leaves was shorter than that of the large leaves. Leaf size was positively affected by fertilization but was not affected by a discontinuation of irrigation by mid-July during the droughty 1976. The specific leaf weight ranged from 2.6 mg/cm2 in the lower canopy to 10.2 mg/cm2 in the upper canopy. The specific leaf weight of litter leaves was 4 to 38 per cent lower than that of green leaves of the same size.

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Zavitkovski, J. Structure and seasonal distribution of litterfall in young plantations of Populus ‘Tristis#1’. Plant Soil 60, 409–422 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02149637

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Key Words

  • Fertilizer
  • Irrigation
  • Leaf area index
  • Leaf size
  • Litterfall
  • Poplar
  • Wisconsin