Response of Douglas fir seedlings to phosphorus fertilization and influence of temperature on this response
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Effects of P fertilizers on growth of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var.menziesii (Mirb.) Franco.) seedlings were examined in pots and nursery beds. In pot experiments levels of P equivalent to 300 kg/ha were adequate for maximum growth over 14–18 weeks and resulted in available soil P levels of 80 ppm after 15 weeks' growth. Maximum growth in pots was obtained with shoot P concentrations of 0.18%–0.20%, with higher values at lower temperatures, but the optimum concentration for one-year old (1-0) nursery seedlings was 0.16% P. Growth of seedlings was greatly restricted at a soil temperature of 5°C and an air temperature of 12°C. At a soil temperature of 10°C and an air temperature of 14°C seedling P requirement was greater than at soil and air temperatures of 20°C.
Comparison showed that monammonium phosphate was more effective than calcium superphosphate in stimulating growth in pots and nursery. Triple superphosphate was also effective in the nursery. Diammonium phosphate, potassium dihydrogen phosphate and phosphoric acid had no advantages as P sources in the nursery. Available P levels of 100–130 ppm, in the loamy sand and sandy loam nurseries studied, and needle P concentrations of 0.18%, when sampled in October, were associated with maximum growth of two-year old (2-0) seedlings.
P fertilization decreased root/shoot ratio, but did not alter the allometric relationship of shoot to root. Improving P status from a low level increased root growth capacity in 2-0 seedlings and P fertilization of potted seedlings increased dry weight/height ratio. Uptakes per seed bed ha of 236 kg N, 31 kg P, 81 kg K and 73 kg Ca by 2-0 seedlings were comparable with, or greater than, uptake rates of agricultural crops. Recoveries of 6–11% of P from fertilizer were recorded in the nursery.
Key wordsDouglas fir Fertilizer Foliar analysis Pseudotsuga menziesii Phosphorus Soil phosphorus Temperature
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