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New Forests

, Volume 43, Issue 5–6, pp 739–753 | Cite as

A review of ecophysiologically-based seedling specifications for temperate Australian eucalypt plantations

  • Dugald C. Close
Article

Abstract

The Australian hardwood plantation estate has significantly expanded in the last decade. Key production issues included: (1) will Eucalyptus nitens Maiden seedlings produced in nurseries on relatively mild sites be susceptible to transplant shock and browsing on cold out-planting sites and can this be managed? And; (2) what specifications should be required of nursery producers for Eucalyptus globulus Labill seedlings for out-planting on mild ex-pasture sites? This review outlines the research conducted in order to address these key questions. Nitrogen deprivation in the nursery induced accumulation of foliar anthocyanin which conferred hardiness to low temperature. Target specifications of 8–10 g/kg foliar nitrogen are recommended. Height of >120 mm, root collar diameter >2.8 mm, seedling container volume of ≥85 cm3, depth of ≥73 mm, density of ≥549 cells/m2 and foliar nitrogen concentration of 15–20 g/kg were found to be key specifications for optimal E. globulus growth following planting onto mild ex-pasture sites. Exponential nutrient loading was a useful technique for attaining target foliar N concentrations. Seedling size was found not to affect growth of E. globulus post-planting on mild ex-pasture sites. However, large seedlings were preferentially browsed on high vertebrate-browse-pressure sites in Tasmania (poisons are banned and shooting is not effective on some sites) that did not affect subsequent growth rate but did increase the incidence of double-leaders. The ‘target seedling concept’ is applicable to eucalypts for Australian planting sites: specifications attained in the nursery should be matched to the factors limiting growth on the planting sites.

Keywords

Anthocyanin Eucalyptus Specification Hardiness Browsing 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Stimulating debate was a key feature of the ‘Restoring Forests’ conference. I particularly wish to thank Steve Grossnickle, Douglass Jacobs, Juan Oliet, Kas Dumroese, Anthony Davies and Jeremy Pinto for discussions. I would also like to thank the organising committee of ‘Restoring Forests’ for the opportunity to present. I wish to thank the many colleagues with whom I have collaborated on the research cited in this review: particularly Chris Beadle for significant input and also, Clare McArthur, Phil Brown, Noel Davies, Mark Hovenden, Ann Hagerman, Ian Bail, Simon Hunter, Greg Holz, Ian Ravenwood, David Cliffe, Andrew Walsh. Funding from the Australian Research Council, the CRC Forestry Strategic Initiative Fund and Visiting Scientist Fund and from industry partners Floriana, Forest Enterprises Australia, Forestry Tasmania, Gunns, Narromine Transplants, Timbercorp, Western Australian Plantation Resources, Jayfields nursery, and Forrest nursery made the research cited in this review possible. I thank the reviewer and associate editor for insightful comments that significantly improved the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perennial Horticulture Centre, Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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