New Forests

, Volume 22, Issue 1–2, pp 75–96 | Cite as

Nursery and field establishment techniques to improve seedling growth of three Costa Rican hardwoods

  • Kevyn Elizabeth Wightman
  • Ted Shear
  • Barry Goldfarb
  • Jeremy Haggar


Seedlings of three economically important and ecologicallydifferent native hardwoods, Cordia alliodora (Boraginaceae),Hyeronima alchorneoides (Euphorbiaceae), and Calophyllumbrasiliense (Clusiaceae), were grown in Rootrainers® (abook-type container), paper pots, and plastic bags filled witheither soil, soil with fertilizer, or compost substrates. Aftertransplanting in the field, treatments with and withoutfertilizer and herbicide were applied to all nursery stock types.In the nursery, species responded primarily to substrate type.Cordia grew better in bags of soil with NPK fertilizer andcompost than in unamended soil, probably responding to highernitrogen availability. Despite large treatment differences atplanting, there were no significant differences in plant sizeafter one year in the field between book containers and bags. Theexception were stump plants that were shorter and had highermortality. Hyeronima grew better in compost than in soil with orwithout fertilizer, probably responding to higher phosphorusavailability and lower bulk density of the compost. Plantsproduced in compost were also bigger after one year's fieldgrowth. Plants produced with soil or in paper pots had highermortality. Calophyllum grew less in compost compared to soil andgrew better when micronutrients were added to the compost andsoil. In the field, seedling produced in soil or withmicronutrients had higher survival or growth, respectively. Ingeneral, species grew better with herbicide and fertilizerapplication after transplanting. However, there were nointeractions with nursery treatments. Responses to fieldtreatments were independent and thus additive to the nurserytreatments. Differences in species response can be related tobiomass allocation patterns and ecology of the species.

Calophyllum brasiliense compost Cordia alliodora fertilization herbicide Hyeronima alchorneoides native species reforestation root trainers weed control 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ACEN. 1994. Memoria [Proceedings]. Segundo encuentro regional sobre especies forestales nativas de la zona norte y atlantica de Costa Rica. Estacion biologica La Selva, Organizacion para Estudios Tropicales, Costa Rica. 24–25 Sept. 1992. 87 p.Google Scholar
  2. Amorini, E. and Fabbio, G. 1992. The ISSA system for production of container tree seedlings. Tree Planters' Notes 43(4): 146–149.Google Scholar
  3. Beer, J. 1979. The UNU-CATIE “La Suiza” agroforestry case study, pp. 188–192. In: Salas, G. (Ed.) Workshop. Agro-forestry systems in Latin America. Turrialba, Costa Rica, March 26–30. Proceedings.Google Scholar
  4. Bergmann, C., Stuhrmann, M. and Zech, W. 1994. Site factors, foliar nutrient levels, and growth of Cordia alliodora plantations in the humid lowlands of Northern Costa Rica. Plant and Soil 166: 193–202.Google Scholar
  5. Burdett, A., Coates, H., Eremka and Martin, P. 1986. Toppling in British Columbia's lodgepole pine plantations: Significance, cause and prevention. Forestry Chronicle (Oct): 433–439.Google Scholar
  6. Burdett, A., Simpson, D.G. and Thompson, C.F. 1983. Root development and plantation establishment. Plant and Soil 71: 103–110.Google Scholar
  7. Butterfield, R. 1993. Tropical Timber Species Growth in the Atlantic Lowlands of Costa Rica and Wood Variation of Two Native Species. Ph.D. dissertation, North Carolina State Univ. Raleigh, 76 p.Google Scholar
  8. Butterfield, R. and Fisher, R. 1994. Untapped potential. Native species for reforestation. J. of Forestry 92(6): 37–40.Google Scholar
  9. Butterfield, R. 1995. Promoting biodiversity: Advances in evaluating native species for reforestation. Forest Ecology and Management 75: 111–121.Google Scholar
  10. Butterfield, R. and Espinoza, M. 1995. Screening trial of 14 tropical hardwoods with an emphasis on species native to Costa Rica: Fourth year results. New Forests 9: 135–145.Google Scholar
  11. Calvo, G. and Melendez, L. 1999. Pseudoestacas de laurel para el enriquecimiento de cacaotales. Agroforesteria en las Américas 6(22): 25–27.Google Scholar
  12. Clark, D.A. and Clark, D.B. 1992. Life history diversity of canopy and emergent trees in a neotropical rain forest. Ecological Monographs 62(3): 315–344.Google Scholar
  13. Fry, G. and Poole, B. 1980. Evaluation of planting stock quality several years after planting (a discussion). New Zealand J. of Forestry Science 10: 299–300.Google Scholar
  14. Haggar, J. and Ewel, J. 1995. Establishment, resource acquisition, and early biomass allocation patterns of three tropical tree species. Forest Science 41: 689–708.Google Scholar
  15. Haggar, J. and Ewel, J. 1997. Primary productivity and resource partitioning in model tropical ecosystems. Ecology 78(4): 1211–1221.Google Scholar
  16. Jordon, C.F. and Farnworth, E.G. 1982. Natural vs. plantation forests: a case study of land reclamation strategies for the humid tropics. Environmental-Management 6(6): 485–492.Google Scholar
  17. Josiah, S. and Jones, N., 1992. Root Trainers in Seedling Production Systems for Tropical Forestry and Agroforestry. Land Resources Series No. 4. The World Bank Asia Technical Department. 40 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Kormanik, P. 1986. Lateral root morphology as an expression of sweetgum seedling quality. Forest Science 32(3): 95–604.Google Scholar
  19. Ladrach, W., 1992. Plantation establishment techniques in tropical America. Tree Planter's Notes 43(4): 125–132.Google Scholar
  20. Lamprecht, H., 1986. Silviculture in the Tropics. GTZ, Eschborn. 296 pp.Google Scholar
  21. Liegel, L. and Venator, C., 1987. A Technical Guide for Forest Nursery Management in the Caribbean and Latin America. USDA, Puerto Rico. 156 pp.Google Scholar
  22. Little, E. and Wadsworth, F. 1964. Common Trees of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. USDA. Agriculture Handbook No. 249.Google Scholar
  23. Morato, Oscar, technical advisor for Sarapiqui Agriculture Center. Personal communication, 1996.Google Scholar
  24. Mason, E.T. 1985. Causes of juvenile instability of Pinus radiata in New Zealand. New Zealand J. of Forestry Science 15(3): 263–280.Google Scholar
  25. McDade, L.A., Bawa, K.S., Hespenheide, H. and Hartshorn, G. (Eds.). 1994. La Selva. Ecology and Natural History of a Neotropical Rain Forest. Univ. of Chicago Press. 486 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Parkinson, J. and Allen, S. 1975. A wet oxidation procedure suitable for the determination of nitrogen and mineral nutrients in biological material. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 6(1): 1–11.Google Scholar
  27. Rheingans, R. 1996. The Ecological, Economic and Political Effects of Tree Plantation Intercropping on Small Farm Forestry in the Atlantic Lowlands of Costa Rica. Ph.D. diss., Yale Univ. 195 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Rose, R., Carlson, W. and Morgan, P., 1990. The target seedling concept, pp. 1–8. In: Rose, R., Campbell, S. and Landis, T. (Eds.) Target Seedling Symposium: Proceedings, Combined Meeting of the Western Forest Nursery Associations. Aug. 13–17.Google Scholar
  29. Rose, R., Haase, D. and Boyer, D. 1995. Organic Matter Management in Forest Nurseries: Theory and Practice. Nursery Technology Cooperative, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 65 p.Google Scholar
  30. SAS Institute. 1990. SAS Procedures Guide, Version 6. SAS Institute, Cary, NC. 724 pp.Google Scholar
  31. Shelhas, J., Jantzi T., Kleppner, C., O'Connor, K. and Thatcher, T. 1997. Meeting farmers' need through forest stewardship. J. of Forestry (2): 33–38.Google Scholar
  32. Sharma, R.D. 1987. Some observations on coiling of roots in nursery raised plants. J. of Tropical Forestry 3: 207–212.Google Scholar
  33. South, D., Mitchell, R., Zutter, B., Balneaves, J., Barber, B., Nelson, D. and Zwolinski, J. 1993. Integration of nursery practices and vegetation management: Economic and biological potential for improving regeneration. Can. J. For. Res. 23: 2038–2092.Google Scholar
  34. Tennant, D. 1975. A test of a modified line intersect method of estimating root length. J. of Ecology 63: 995–1001.Google Scholar
  35. van den Driessche, R. 1984a. Soil fertility in forest nurseries, pp. 63–74. In: Duryea, M. and Landis, T. (Eds.) Forest Nursery Manual: Production of Bareroot Seedlings. Martinus Nijhoff/Dr. W. Junk Publishers.Google Scholar
  36. van den Driessche, R. 1984b. Relationship between spacing and nitrogen fertilization of seedlings in the nursery, seedling mineral nutrition and outplanting performance. Can. J. For. Research 14: 431–436.Google Scholar
  37. Wolfinger, R. and Chang, M. 1995. Comparing SAS GLM and MIXED Procedures for Repeated Measures. SAS Institute, Cary, NC.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevyn Elizabeth Wightman
    • 1
  • Ted Shear
    • 1
  • Barry Goldfarb
    • 1
  • Jeremy Haggar
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ForestryNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Organization for Tropical StudiesSan Pedro, Costa Rica

Personalised recommendations