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The impact of available water content in previous agricultural soils on tree growth and nutritional status in young hybrid aspen plantations in Estonia

Arvo Tullus, Arno Kanal, Tea Soo and Hardi Tullus
Plant and Soil
Vol. 333, No. 1/2 (August 2010), pp. 129-145
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24130681
Page Count: 17
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Abstract

The impact of soil available water content (AWC) on the growth and foliar nutrient concentrations of trees in 7-yr-old hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. x P. tremuloides Michx.) plantations established on abandoned agricultural lands was studied. AWC in the topmost 75 cm soil layer was significantly related to height growth and foliar N concentration of hybrid aspens. The correlations were stronger on well-drained automorphic soils and in the case of a dry growing season with insufficient precipitation. AWC over 150–160 mm can be considered sufficient, and below 120 mm insufficient for fast growth of hybrid aspen. The differences in AWC were less pronounced in the top 25 cm soil layer but were more noticeable in the 25–50 and 50– 75 cm soil layers. AWC estimated as a function of soil specific surface area and bulk density was shown here to be a significant indicator for site selection for establishing hybrid aspen plantations. Foliar N concentration over 2.7% can be considered optimal and below 2.4%, insufficient for hybrid aspen on the studied soils. Foliar concentrations of P (on average 0.24%) and K (on average 0.79%) varied little and, thus, did not correlate with tree growth. The most suitable previous agricultural soils for afforestation with hybrid aspen would be moderately drained Albeluvisols, Luvisols and Planosols.

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