Influence of potassium and sodium nutrition on leaf area components in Eucalyptus grandis trees
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Background and Aims
Recent studies showed a positive tree response to Na addition in K-depleted tropical soils. Our study aimed to gain insight into the effects of K and Na fertilizations on leaf area components for a widely planted tree species.
Leaf expansion rates, as well as nutrient, polyol and soluble sugar concentrations, were measured from emergence to abscission of tagged leaves in 1-year-old Eucalyptus grandis plantations. Leaf cell size and water status parameters were compared 1 and 2 months after leaf emergence in plots with KCl application (+K), NaCl application (+Na) and control plots (C).
K and Na applications enhanced tree leaf area by increasing both leaf longevity and the mean area of individual leaves. Higher cell turgor in treatments +K and +Na than in the C treatment resulting from higher concentrations of osmotica contributed to increasing both palisade cell diameters and the size of fully expanded leaves.
Intermediate total tree leaf area in treatment +Na compared to treatments C and +K might result from the capacity of Na to substitute K in osmoregulatory functions, whereas it seemed unable to accomplish other important K functions that contribute to delaying leaf senescence.
KeywordsK Na Nutrient Leaf area Expansion Leaf lifespan Leaf longevity Osmotic potential Cell turgor Soluble sugars Cell size
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