Plant Physiology Reports

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 410–421 | Cite as

Effects of irrigation and phosphorus fertilization on physiology, growth, and nitrogen-accumulation of Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius)

  • David R. CarterEmail author
  • Robert A. Slesak
  • Timothy B. Harrington
  • Anthony W. D’Amato
Original Article


We tested the effects of phosphorus (P) fertilization and soil water on the growth, physiology, and total nitrogen (N) accumulation in N-fixing Scotch broom in Olympia, WA. We manipulated soil water and P availability via irrigation and fertilization, respectively, in a completely randomized 2 × 2 factorial on potted one-year old Scotch broom seedlings (n = 20) in an N-deficient sand. There was substantial evidence that increased-irrigation and P-fertilization had similar positive effects on N accumulation in Scotch broom approximately equally. High-irrigation rates were more often associated with positive physiological and growth responses in Scotch broom than fertilization, however. Although the irrigation × fertilization interaction was not significant, there were additive effects of high-irrigation and fertilization on biomass and N content as both were 50% greater in the fertilized-and-high-irrigation treatment relative to the respective fertilized and high-irrigation treatments. We noted an accumulation of N and P in the plant tissues. Analyses indicated a pattern of decreasing function and growth with increasing N and P concentrations in Scotch broom biomass, suggesting plant growth and physiology were limited by some other resource. Total plant N content values ranged from 7.0 ± 1.1 g plant−1 in the control and 23.4 g ± 9.0 plant−1 in the fertilized-and-high-irrigation treatment. Extrapolated to typical densities of comparably sized Scotch broom plants on invaded sites in the western Pacific Northwest, these findings suggest that, at least, 12–65 kg N ha−1 would be found in Scotch broom plants in the field.


Soil water Transpiration N-fixation Biomass Water-use efficiency 



We would like to thank James Dollins, Alyssa Peter, LeRoy Turner and Dave Peter for their help setting up and maintaining this study, as well as taking field measurements. Funding for this project was provided by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (Grants.Gov Number: GRANT11325729).


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Copyright information

© Indian Society for Plant Physiology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Carter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert A. Slesak
    • 2
  • Timothy B. Harrington
    • 3
  • Anthony W. D’Amato
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Forest Resources and Environmental ConservationVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research StationOlympiaUSA
  4. 4.Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural ResourcesUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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