Initial growth responses to controlled release fertilizer application at establishment of commercial forestry species in South Africa

Hans, Ralston Ronald (2013-12)

Thesis (MScFor)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South Africa fertilizer applications at establishment is a common practice in the forestry industry. Recommendations are based on past research with conventional sources (CV) and as a result there have only been slight improvements in additional plantation production over recent years. The objective of this study was to investigate initial stand responses in terms of leaf are index (LAI), foliar nutrient content, biomass index (BI) and volume growth to the application of controlled release fertilizers (CRF) at re-establishment. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) were applied in a three way factorial combination to Pinus radiata at planting on a site in the Western Cape. The design was replicated five times across the study area. N (CRF) and P (CV) were applied in a two way factorial combination at planting to two Eucalyptus grandis x urophylla hybrids and Eucalyptus dunnii across three sites, one ex-agricultural and two re-establishment sites, on the Zululand coastal plain and the Midlands region. The design was replicated nine times on each study site. Harvesting residues were burnt on the eucalypt sites prior to establishment and may have had an impact on the responses found. An outbreak of Fusarium circinatum on the P. radiata site resulted in unexpected and extremely variable responses. An attempt to quantify the effect of the disease had limited success. The mean BI of the control treatment reached 25. The best CV and CRF treatments yielded improvements of 42 % and 83 % in BI over the control respectively, with only the CRF treatment difference being significant. Foliar analysis results revealed marginal to deficient concentrations of P and Mg being alleviated by the treatments in question. On the KZN Zululand sites there was a marked response of the hybrids to N with P having an additive effect on volume growth, LAI and foliar N content. Application of 120 g N and 20 g P per tree on the ex-agriculture site produced a volume of 8 m3 ha-1 at one year of age, a significant increase of 118 % and 80 % over the control and best CV treatment respectively. Application of 80 g N and 20 g P per tree, on the re-establishment site, yielded a volume of 24.6 m3 ha-1 at one year which equates to a significant 39 % and insignificant 7 % additional volume at one year over the control and best CV treatment respectively. A non-significant suppressive effect was found with 20 g CV P application only. At the KZN Midlands site, the major early response in height were to P application. Applications of 20 g CV P per tree, resulted in a mean height of 162.6 cm at seven months of age, a significant 28 % higher than the control. There was no significant effect of 80 g CRF N and 20 g CV P per tree respectively. CRF N applications up to 120 g per tree provide additional growth over recommended CV applications on coastal Zululand sites with low organic carbon (OC) content. On the KZN Midlands site with higher OC and clay content, early responses were limited to P fertilization only regardless of the fertilizer source.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit is algemene praktyk in die Suid Afrikaanse bosbou industrie om kunsmis tydens aanplanting toe te dien. Hierdie aanbeveling is gebasseer op navorsing resultate met konvensionele bronne (CV), gevolglik was slegs ‘n klein toename in bykomende plantasie produksie gemeet die afgelope paar jaar. Die doelwit tydens hierdie studie is om die aanvanklike reaksie van die bome in terme van blaar oppervlak indeks (LAI), blaar-voedingstof inhoud, biomassa indeks (BI) en volume op die toediening van beheerde vrylating kunsmis (CRF) tydens aanplanting vas te stel. Stikstof (N), fosfor (P) en kalium (K) is in drie-ledige kombinasie aan Pinus radiata op ’n plantasie in die Weskaap toegedien. Die ontwerp is vyf keer in die studiegebied herhaal. N en P is in twee-ledige kombinasie aan twee Eucalyptus grandis x urophylla hibriede en Eucalyptus dunnii op drie groeiplekke, een eks-landbou en twee eks-bosbou, op die Zoeloeland kusvlakte en in die Natalse Middellande toegedien. Die ontwerp is nege keer in elke studiegebied herhaal. Oesreste is voor aanplanting op die Eucalyptus groeiplekke verbrand. Die voorkoms van Fusarium circinatum op die P. radiata groeiplek het onverwagte en hoogs uiteenlopende reaksies tot gevolg gehad. ’n Poging om die effek van die siekte te kwantifiseer, was slegs gedeeltelik suksesvol. Die gemiddelde BI van die kontrole behandeling, was 25. Die beste CV en CRF behandeling het onderskeidelik 42 % en 83 % hoër BI as die kontrole groep gehad, waarvan slegs die CRF behandeling beduidend was. Blaarontleding het gewys dat daar marginale of ontoereikende konsentrasies van P en Mg was. In Zoeloeland het die Eucalyptus hibriede ’n beduidende reaksie op N en P getoon met meer volume groei, LAI en N inhoud. Die toediening van 120 g N en 20 g P per boom op die eks-landbou groeiplek het ’n volume van 8 m3 ha-1 op eenjarige ouderdom tot gevolg gehad. Dis beduidend beter met 118 % en 80 % onderskeidelik vir die kontrole en beste CV behandeling. Die toediening van 80 g N en 20 g P per boom op die hervestigde eks-bosbou groeiplek, het ’n volume van 24.6 m3 ha-1 op eenjarige ouderdom tot gevolg gehad. Dit is 39 % beduidend en 7 % onbeduidend addisionele volume op eenjarige ouderdom vir onderskeidelik die kontrole groep en beste CV behandeling. ’n Onbeduidende depressie effek is met die alleen toediening van 20 g CV P gevind. In die Natalse Middellande groeiplek het die toediening van P ‘n vroeë reaksie in hoogte groei veroorsaak. Die toediening van 20 g CV P per boom, het ’n gemiddelde hoogte van 162.6 cm op die ouderdom van sewe maande tot gevolg gehad. Dit is 28 % beduidend hoër as die kontrole. Die toediening van 80 g CRF N en 20 g CV P per boom was onbeduidend. Toedienings van CRF N tot en met 120 g per boom het in die kusgebiede van Zoeloeland met ‘n lae organiese koolstof (OC) inhoud, groter groei as die aanbevole CV toedienings gehad. Die Middellande groeiplek met ’n hoër OC en klei inhoud, was die vroeë reaksie alleenlik beperk tot P bemesting.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85609
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