Base cation stimulation of mycorrhization and photosynthesis of sugar maple on acid soils are coupled by foliar nutrient dynamics

Authors

  • Samuel B. St Clair,

    1. Intercollegiate Graduate Program in Ecological and Molecular Plant Physiology, The Pennsylvania State University, 102 Tyson Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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  • Jonathan P. Lynch

    Corresponding author
    1. Intercollegiate Graduate Program in Ecological and Molecular Plant Physiology, The Pennsylvania State University, 102 Tyson Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
    2. Department of Horticulture, The Pennsylvania State University, 221 Tyson Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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Author for correspondence: Jonathan Lynch Tel: +1 814 8632256 Fax: +1 814 8636139 Email: jpl4@psu.edu

Summary

  • • The nutritional benefits that mycorrhizal associations provide to plants may be constrained by acidic soil conditions resulting in decreased photosynthetic function.
  • • Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and red maple (Acer rubrum) seedlings were grown on a native acidic (pH 4.1) soil both unamended and amended with base cations (pH 6.2). In a second study a fungicide treatment was included. Foliar nutrition, mycorrhizal colonization, photosynthesis and their relationships were assessed.
  • • On the native soil, red maple maintained higher levels of mycorrhizal colonization and photosynthesis than sugar maple but showed little response to base cation amendments. Mycorrhizal colonization and photosynthesis of sugar maple increased significantly in response to base cation amendments. Correlations were observed among mycorrhizal colonization, foliar nutrition and photosynthesis. The fungicide treatment indicated that 50% of the base cation-induced increase in sugar maple photosynthesis was mycorrhiza related.
  • • The results suggest that base cation stimulation of mycorrhization and photosynthesis of sugar maple on acid soils are coupled by foliar nutrient dynamics. Red maple exhibits much less sensitivity to these same edaphic conditions.

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