Nutrition and growth of birch seedlings at varied relative phosphorus addition rates

Authors

  • Tom Ericsson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Section of Forest Ecophysiology, P. O. Box 7072, Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.
      Tom Ericsson (corresponding author)
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  • Torsten Ingestad

    1. Section of Forest Ecophysiology, P. O. Box 7072, Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.
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Tom Ericsson (corresponding author)

Abstract

Birch (Betula pendula Roth.) was investigated under steady state nutrition and growth at different relative addition rates of phosphorus (Rp). Phosphorus deficiency symptoms appeared on the leaves when the internal phosphorus concentration decreased, but disappeared again under steady state nutrition, independent of the stress level. The increased root/shoot ratio and the exploratory type of root systems developed during the adjustment stage remained under steady state conditions. At nonoptimum and close to optimum relative addition rates, independent of the rate, the phosphorus concentration of the culture solution did not exceed 2 μmol dm−3 and was generally < 1 μmol dm−3 immediately after phosphorus additions. The phosphorus concentration just before additions was generally < 0.5 μmol dm−3. The nutrition/growth relationships were similar to those for nitrogen, with relative growth rate (Rg) closely related to the Rp applied and with a strong linear relationship between internal phosphorus concentration and Rg. Regression was much steeper than that for nitrogen. The slope of the optimum nutrition was attained at a lower phosphorus weight proportion to nitrogen (8–10 P: 100 N) than previously estimated (= 13 P: 100 N), but a higher relative phosphorus requirement was observed under stress conditions. Birch seedlings had a strong tendency to consume phosphorus in excess of immediate requirements with a small effect on growth above optimum. This resulted in rapidly decreasing phosphorus productivity (Pp, growth rate per unit of phosphorus) with increasing internal phosphorus concentrations above optimum.

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