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Effect of forest floor on growth and nutrition of Douglas-fir and western hemlock seedlings with and without fertilizer


Canadian Journal of Forest Research 22(9): 1222-1229
Effect of forest floor on growth and nutrition of Douglas-fir and western hemlock seedlings with and without fertilizer
Experiments were conducted to determine the effects of four different forest soils on growth and shoot nutrients of potted Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) seedlings, in absence and in presence of forest floor, and with and without N and P fertilizers. Nine-month-old seedlings from low-elevation seed sources were used, and seedlings were grown for 2 years in a roofed lathhouse. Soils were of the Klone, Vesta, Bunker, and Shelton series; Klone and Vesta soils, and Bunker and Shelton soils, were collected from western hemlock and Douglas-fir stands, respectively. The fertilizers ammonium nitrate at 100 kg N/ha and triple superphosphate at 226 kg P/ha were tested. The forest floor, at 70 g/7.6-L pot, and the N and P fertilizers were added to the top of the planting pots without mixing. The forest floors and mineral soils differed by source in many of the chemical characteristics determined. Overall, seedling growth of Douglas-fir and western hemlock was better in the Klone and Shelton soils than in the Bunker and Vesta soils. Seedlings, especially those of western hemlock, grew better with than without forest floor. the N fertilizer reduced seedling growth of both species and, in some soils, reductions were more with than without forest floor. The P fertilizer improved seedling growth of both species in all soils and, with one exception, growth was much greater in the presence than in the absence of the forest floor. With both species, soil, forest-floor, and fertilization treatments affected concentrations and contents of the various shoot nutrients determined. The nutritional changes observed varied by nutrient and reflected differences in uptake of native and fertilizer nutrients, as well as changes in shoot dry weight. The results demonstrate the importance of the forest floor to growth and nutrition of Douglas-fir and western hemlock seedlings, especially when fertilizers are used.

Accession: 002355977

DOI: 10.1139/x92-163

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