Plant and Soil

, Volume 259, Issue 1–2, pp 85–95 | Cite as

Total, and chemical fractions, of nitrogen and phosphorus in Eucalyptus seedling leaves: Effects of species, nursery fertiliser management and transplanting

  • Dugald C. Close
  • Chris L. Beadle


Total and nitrogen (N)- and phosphorus (P)-containing chemical fractions extracted in trichloroacetic acid (TCA) were assessed after nursery production (pre-planting) and during establishment of E. globulus Labill. and E. nitens (Deane and Maiden) Maiden seedlings in the field and following transfer of E. nitens seedlings from warm temperatures in a nursery to cool temperatures in a growth chamber. In field experiments, seedlings of both species were transplanted in spring onto a site at 350 m above sea level (asl) and E. nitens in early winter onto a site at 700 m asl. E. nitens seedlings received either high- or low-nutrient, treatments in the nursery before planting at 700 m asl or before transfer to the growth chamber. E. globulus had greater foliar concentrations of total N and P at planting than E. nitens after nursery production under the same fertiliser regime. In both field trials and the growth chamber experiment a decrease in N, and generally P, concentration in the leaves was observed between pre-planting and the first post-planting measurement. Decreased N was observed after a period of one week and 15 weeks at 350 and 700 m asl, respectively. E. globulus seedlings had higher concentrations of insoluble P complexes and lower concentrations of inorganic P than E. nitens. Increased levels of soluble N across treatments were associated with warm spring temperatures in both field experiments. N and P concentrations with time during establishment were similar in all experiments. This may be related to retranslocation associated with growth after transplanting. Despite differences in N and P concentrations, partitioning of total N to soluble (nitrate, ammonia and amino acid), nucleic acid and protein N and of total P to nucleic acid, sugar, inorganic and insoluble P were similar between E. nitens high- and low-nutrient treatments, and with time during establishment. The TCA method yielded insights additional to those of total N and P. This study showed that the plant nutrition associated with eucalypt seedling transplanting is highly dynamic and complex.

establishment nutrition transplanting trichloroacetic acid 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dugald C. Close
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chris L. Beadle
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Production ForestryHobart
  2. 2.Schools of Zoology, Agricultural and Plant ScienceUniversity of TasmaniaHobart
  3. 3.CSIRO Forestry and Forest ProductsHobart

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