Soil nutrient supply rates as an indicator of site suitability and seedling growth requirements
Van Rees, K.C.J.
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Before there is widespread adoption of agroforestry practices in Saskatchewan, a clear economic advantage for producers to grow hybrid poplar must become apparent. In order to achieve this goal, there needs to be adequate survival and growth of planted seedlings, especially within the first few years. Under conditions of adequate soil moisture, reductions in the early growth of tree seedlings mainly are attributable to soil nutrient limitations. Monitoring soil nutrient availability, therefore, is important for ensuring optimal tree nutrition and promoting successful seedling establishment and growth. Notwithstanding the importance of routine soil testing practices in supporting annual crop production, less than 10 % of the fields in western Canada currently are managed based on annual soil testing practices. Consequently, producers see limited utility in the fertilizer recommendations provided to them based on conventional soil tests. The objective of this study then, is to measure nutrient supply rates at several hybrid poplar plantations in northern Saskatchewan, using in situ burials of ion exchange membrane (Plant Root Simulator (PRS)™-probes), and relate these data to plantation productivity during the early establishment phase. Determining the relationship between soil nutrient supply rates and seedling growth should help to support effective management strategies, in terms of proper site selection and elucidating possible fertilizer requirements.
nitrogen supply rate
Plant Root Simulator™-probes
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