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Vermicompost enhances germination of the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.)

Abstract

We investigated the effect of vermicompost on the germination and early development of six different progenies of the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.). We compared the effects of incorporating solid vermicompost into the potting media to those of vermicompost water extract. The incorporation of vermicompost in the growing media of maritime pine increased germination by 16%, and particularly, addition of vermicompost water extract produced the best results. Plants germinated with vermicompost showed higher N content as compared to control plants, and this could have determined the faster maturation of the treated seedlings. Since the best effects on pine germination were observed after application of vermicompost water extract, other mechanisms, rather than the physical amelioration of the substrate, such as the presence of water soluble nutrients and organic compounds (i.e. humic acids and plant growth regulating substances) in the vermicompost, might be involved in the promotion of germination. We also report variation in the response of the different pine progenies to vermicompost application thereby confirming the necessity of taking into account genetic variability in order to study the potential of vermicompost and other biologically-active organic materials as a potting amendments.

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Acknowledgments

This research was financially supported by the Xunta de Galicia (Project 07MRU023383PR) and INIA (RTA07-100-00). Cristina Lazcano was financially supported by a grant from “Fundación la Caixa”.

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Correspondence to Cristina Lazcano.

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Lazcano, C., Sampedro, L., Zas, R. et al. Vermicompost enhances germination of the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.). New Forests 39, 387–400 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-009-9178-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-009-9178-z

Keywords

  • Forest nursery
  • Seed germination
  • Plant genotype
  • Genotype × environment interaction
  • Earthworm compost
  • Organic amendment