European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 221–229 | Cite as

Nursery fertilization enhances survival and physiological status in Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis) seedlings planted in a semiarid environment

  • Vanessa C. LuisEmail author
  • Jaime Puértolas
  • José Climent
  • Juliane Peters
  • Águeda M. González-Rodríguez
  • Domingo Morales
  • M. Soledad Jiménez
Original Paper


We tested the hypothesis that fertilized containerized Pinus canariensis seedlings increases survival when planted in semiarid sites through the improvement of their physiological status during the establishment phase by an increment in root growth. Seedlings were cultured under two different regimes: traditional (in non-fertilized natural soil) and alternative (in fertilized peat). Morphological attributes and nitrogen content were measured before planting. Measurements of survival and growth in the plantation were made periodically for 2 years and physiological plant responses (leaf water potential, gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence) during the third summer after planting were tested and finally a set of plants were excavated to measure the same parameters as before planting. Seedlings cultivated using fertilized peat achieved the highest values for all of evaluated parameters. During the third dry season, big seedlings exhibited better physiological status. Therefore, enhanced root growth can result in better water uptake during the dry period thereby increasing survival and growth in the next few years after planting. A feed-back physiological model is proposed to explain P. canariensis establishment in a semiarid environment.


Canary Island pine Fertilization Feed-back model Field performance Seedling quality Physiological status 



The authors want to express their gratitude to the Consejería de Educación Cultura y Deportes of the Canarian Government for supporting of the investigation and to the Cabildo Insular of Tenerife for logistic support. Thanks to Gerhard Wieser and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments to improve the manuscript and the English style. V.C. Luis and J. Puértolas are currently funded by FSE, MEC and CEAM and want to acknowledge to Consolider-Ingenio for actual support. CEAM is funded by Generalitat Valenciana and Bancaja.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa C. Luis
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Jaime Puértolas
    • 2
    • 5
  • José Climent
    • 3
  • Juliane Peters
    • 4
  • Águeda M. González-Rodríguez
    • 4
  • Domingo Morales
    • 1
  • M. Soledad Jiménez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology (Plant Physiology)La Laguna UniversityTenerifeSpain
  2. 2.Centro Nacional de Mejora Forestal “El Serranillo”GuadalajaraSpain
  3. 3.Unidad de Genética ForestalCIFOR-INIAMadridSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Fruticultura TropicalInstituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias (ICIA)TenerifeSpain
  5. 5.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias, Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (CEAM)Alicante UniversityAlicanteSpain

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