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Fertilizer Experiments in Conifer Nurseries of British Columbia BC Forest Service - Research Division

Abstract: To provide guidance for fertilizing in the nurseries, and to answer the question raised by Reforestation Division, whether micronutrient deficiencies might be developing at Surrey Nursery, three experiments were conducted. A factorial fertilizer test with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizers at Skimikin nursery showed that nutrient additions for satisfactory growth of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) should be 9O kg N, 135 kg P (applied before sowing), and 40 kg per ha during the first year. During the second year 120 kg N and 90 kg K should be applied per ha. Dry weight per unit length of shoot was greatest for seedlings receiving most N fertilizer in the second year, rather than the first year. Chemical analysis of two-year old (2-0) seedlings showed that shoot dry weight increased as foliar Ca concentration (%) decreased. Foliage of vigorous 2-0 lodgepole pine contained 0.4 - 0.5% Ca and concentrations above 0.7% Ca occurred in small seedlings. Expected macronutrient concentrations for healthy lodgepole pine seedlings are listed in Research Note 79. Rates and frequencies of K fertilizer applications were tested on Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii Mirb. Franco) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss.) at Surrev and Red Rock nurseries. At Surrey nursery dry weight of both species showed a small increase up to 180 kg K per ha applied before sowing. When applications were made three times a year maximum dry weight was attained in the range of 22-45 kg K per ha. No response to K treatment was detected at Red Rock nursery which contains more soil K (0.25 meq/100g) than Surrey (0.15 meq/IOOg). However, a positive relationship between tissue K% and dry weight of 1-0 interior Douglas-fir seedlings was found at Red Rock, explaining 36% of seedling dry weight variation. Rapidly growing 1-0 interior Douglas-fir contained more than 0.85% K, but slowly growing seedlings contained less than 0.80% K. There was no indication that K fertilization decreased frost damage to coastal Douglas-fir grown at Surrey. The micronutrients iron (Fe), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn) , molybdenum (Mo) and boron (B) were tested at Surrey nursery to see if they improved the growth of white spruce. They were applied at two levels in each of two years to white spruce growing on plots containing three different levels of P. No treatment effects of micronutrients on seedling growth were detected although there was a poorly-defined relationship between 1-0 seedling Mn concentration and 2-0 seedling dry weight. Growth responses to P level were erratic, but seedling density was decreased by increasing P level with calcium superphosphate. Further details are available in Research Note 79 "Fertilizer Experiments In Conifer Nurseries of British Columbia"," by R. van den Driessche, which can be obtained from Information Division, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X5. [Abstract contains full text of memo.]
BC Forest Service - Research Division. 1977. Fertilizer Experiments in Conifer Nurseries of British Columbia. British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Research Memo (FLNRORD). RM17
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: FLNRORD, Research Memo, British Columbia
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