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
We gratefully acknowledge Rildo Moreira e Moreira and the staff at the Itatinga Experimental Station (Esalq-Usp), as well as Eder Araujo da Silva (www.floragroapoio.com.br) for their technical support. We are grateful to Pr. Beatriz Appezzato da Glória (Laboratório de Anatomia Vegetal, ESALQ, USP) for her contribution to anatomical measurements. We thank Philippe Borianne (CIRAD) for his contribution to the development of the Toaster plug-in of the Image J® software. We acknowledge Hélène Guillemain for logistical assistance as well as two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions.
The study was funded by FAPESP (Project 2010/50663-8), AGREENIUM (Plantotrem project) and USP-COFECUB (Project 2011-25).
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