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

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Abstract

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.

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Wightman, K.E., Shear, T., Goldfarb, B. et al. Nursery and field establishment techniques to improve seedling growth of three Costa Rican hardwoods. New Forests 22, 75–96 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1012020023446

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