, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 265–276 | Cite as

Nutrient reabsorption efficiency and the response to phosphorus fertilization in the desert shrubLarrea tridentata (DC.) Cov.

  • Kate Lajtha


A field fertilization experiment demonstrated that growth ofLarrea tridentata was not limited by phosphorus, even though soils contained high levels of pedogenic carbonates that can potentially fix high amounts of phosphorus. Nutrient reabsorption efficiencies in unfertilized shrubs ranged from 72–86% for P, making nutrient reabsorption a very effective nutrient conservation mechanism. Absolute amounts of N and P reabsorption increased with N and P concentrations in leaves, with reabsorption being greater during drought stress than during rapid leaf growth. However, only N reabsorption efficiency increased with increasing plant N status. A model was developed to explain patterns of nutrient reabsorption efficiencies over large gradients in nutrient availability.

Key words

nutrient reabsorption efficiency Larrea tridentata nutrient use phosphorus cycling desert ecosystems soil carbonates 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Lajtha
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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