New Forests

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 57–68 | Cite as

Minimizing nutrient leaching and improving nutrient use efficiency of Liriodendron tulipifera and Larix leptolepis in a container nursery system

  • Byung Bae Park
  • Min Seok Cho
  • Soo Won Lee
  • Ruth D. Yanai
  • Don K. LeeEmail author


Fertilization is essential to seedling production in nursery culture, but excessive fertilization can contaminate surface and ground water around the nursery. The optimal fertilization practice is that which maximizes seedling growth and minimizes nutrient loss. We tested three fertilization strategies: (1) constant fertilization (2) a three-stage rate, and (3) exponential fertilization on Liriodendron tulipifera and Larix leptolepis containerized seedlings. Growth performance, nutrient uptake, and nutrient loss in leaching were measured. Height, root collar diameter, and dry weight of both species were not significantly different among treatments even though the nutrient supply of the exponential treatment was half that of the constant and three-stage treatments. Generally, nutrient losses in leached solutions were higher in constant and three-stage than the exponential treatment. Nutrient use efficiency was calculated as the ratio of the nutrient content of the seedlings to the amount of nutrient applied to the containers. The nitrogen use efficiency in the constant, three-stage, and exponential treatments was 63, 61, and 85% for yellow poplar, respectively, and 35, 30, and 53% for larch. Similar results were obtained for phosphorus and potassium. Thus, the exponential treatment had the highest nutrient use efficiency as well as the least nutrient loss. Adjusting fertilization rates can reduce soil and water contamination around the nursery without compromising growth performance, which reduces both producer’s investments and environmental impacts.


Biomass Exponential fertilization Leached solution Nitrogen use efficiency Phosphorus use efficiency Potassium use efficiency 



Data were collected by Eun Joo Jo at the Forest Practice Research Center of Korea Forest Research Institute and hundreds of solution samples were analyzed by Hye Lim Sung. We thank DF Jacobs, P Smethurst and an anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments. This research was supported by Research Funds of the Korea Forest Research Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Byung Bae Park
    • 1
  • Min Seok Cho
    • 2
  • Soo Won Lee
    • 2
  • Ruth D. Yanai
    • 3
  • Don K. Lee
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Forest EcologyKorea Forest Research InstituteSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Forest Practice Research CenterKorean Forest Research InstitutePocheonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuseUSA
  4. 4.Department of Forest SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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