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Determining Soil Nutrient Requirements For Growing Hybrid Poplar

Hangs, R. D., K. J. Greer, K. C. J. Van Rees and W. R. Schroeder . 2007. Soil and Crops

Abstract

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 three-year study was to measure nutrient supply rates at several hybrid poplar plantations in northern Saskatchewan, using in situ burials of ion-exchange membrane (Plant Root Simulator™-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.

Key Words

hybrid poplar, nutrient supply rate, Plant Root Simulator™-probes, soil testing