Evaluation of the cumulative effect of drip irrigation and fertigation on productivity in a poplar plantation
Combined drip irrigation and fertigation significantly increased stem volume and biomass production in a poplar plantation, and showed a cumulative effect over years. The promoting effects were mainly attributable to increased nitrogen and water availability in the surface soil through the combined management.
Fast-growing and high-yielding poplar plantations have been identified as major commercial forests in China. Intensive management of irrigation and fertilization can greatly increase productivity of plantations. Quantitative investigations on the cumulative effect of drip irrigation and fertigation over years are quite infrequent.
We aimed to quantitatively evaluate the effects of drip irrigation and fertigation plans on tree growth and productivity in a poplar plantation, and to analyze their possible cumulative promoting effect over multiple years.
Treatments including nine drip irrigation and fertigation combinations, and single furrow irrigation in spring as control, were conducted in a poplar plantation for three successive years. The combined treatments consist of three irrigation levels (WP−75, WP−50, and WP−25, in ascending order) and three levels of nitrogen addition (N60, N120, and N180, in ascending order). Soil nitrogen and water content were measured throughout the 3 years. Based on tree surveys, tree growth, volume, and biomass production were evaluated each year.
Nitrogen and water availability in the surface soil increased in the drip irrigation- and fertigation-treated plots. Drip irrigation and fertigation treatments resulted in significant higher growth, stem volume, and biomass productions compared to control. Biomass increments in drip irrigation- and fertigation-treated plots were 4.8–50.0, 5.3–26.5, and 4.3–52.2% higher than control in the three experimental years, respectively, with WP−25N180 and WP−50N180 recording the highest increments. Fertigation showed cumulative effects over multiple years and the positive effects increased with the dosage. However, irrigation showed little cumulative effect and the greatest effect was obtained under medium level.
Combined drip irrigation and fertigation greatly promoted the plantation productivity. The combined management effect varied with application plans and plantation ages, and showed a cumulative effect over years.
KeywordsDrip irrigation Fertigation Nitrogen addition Biomass equations Productivity in forest plantations Populus × euramericana “Guariento”
This research was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670625) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (184521).
Compliance with ethical standards
The manuscript has no associated data or data archiving is not mandated.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Dong WY, Qin J, Li JY, Zhao Y, Nie LS, Zhang ZY (2011) Interactions between soil water content and fertilizer on growth characteristics and biomass yield of Chinese white poplar (Populus tomentosa Carr.) seedlings. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 57:303–312. https://doi.org/10.1080/00380768.2010.549445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lynch DW, Schumacher FX (1941) Concerning the dispersion of natural regeneration. J Forest 39:49–51(43)Google Scholar
- Ramniwas KRA, Pareek S, Sarolia DK, Singh V (2013) Effect of drip fertigation scheduling on fertilizer use efficiency, leaf nutrient status, yield and quality of ‘shweta’ guava (Psidium guajava L.) under meadow orcharding. Natl Acad Sci Lett 36:483–488. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40009-013-0162-yCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Stanturf JA, Oosten CV, Netzer DA, Coleman MD, Portwood CJ (2001) Ecology and silviculture of poplar plantations. In: Dickmann DI, Isebrands JG, Eckenwalder JE, Richardson J (eds) Poplar culture in North America. NRC Research Press, pp 153–206Google Scholar
- Wang Y, Xi BY, Bloomberg M, Moltchanova E, Li GD, Jia LM (2015) Response of diameter growth, biomass allocation and N uptake to N fertigation in a triploid Populus tomentosa plantation in the North China Plain: ontogenetic shift does not exclude plasticity. Eur J Forest Res 134:889–898. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-015-0897-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Xi BY, Wang Y, Jia LM, Bloomberg M, Li GD, Di N (2013) Characteristics of fine root system and water uptake in a triploid Populus tomentosa plantation in the North China Plain: implications for irrigation water management. Agr Water Manage 117:83–92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2012.11.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Yan XL (2016) Research on coupling effects of water and nitrogen in fast-growing and high-yield poplar plantations. Dissertation, Beijing Forestry University (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
- Yan XL, Dai TF, Jia LM, Dai LL, Xin FM (2015a) Responses of the fine root morphology and vertical distribution of Populus × euramericana‘Guariento’ to the coupled effect of water and nitrogen. Chin. J Plant Ecol 39:825–837. https://doi.org/10.17521/cjpe.2015.0079 (in Chinese with English abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar