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Short-term effects of soil compaction on growth of Pinus contorta seedlings

Conlin, T.S.S., Driessche, R. van den.
Canadian journal of forest research = 1996 v.26 no.5 pp. 727-739
height, plant characteristics, Pinus contorta, seedlings, soil compaction, seedling growth, soil water, bulk density, soil density, conifer needles, shoots, roots, carbon dioxide, ethylene
A growth chamber experiment was conducted with Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm. seedlings grown in soil compacted at 0.1, 2.0, 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0 MPa pressure. Three moisture regimes were applied factorially to compaction levels by watering from above or by maintaining 2- or 10-cm water tables at the base of the 40-cm soil columns. All treatments were grown at either 22:14 degrees C or 26:18 degrees C (light:dark) for 13 weeks. Soil compaction increased bulk density, penetrometer resistance, and soil CO2 and ethylene. The presence of water tables resulted in elevated soil gravimetric water content, which rose with increased compaction and resulted in reduced penetrometer resistance and soil O2. Increased compaction was associated with decreased needle lengths, root dry weights, and net photosynthesis and increased rates of shoot respiration. Compaction had a small effect on height growth, with the tallest seedlings occurring at the greatest compaction rate. Shoot concentrations of mineral nutrients also decreased as soil compaction increased. Within the water table treatments, increased gravimetric soil water content was generally paralleled by a rise in the negative effects of compaction on growth, root/shoot dry weight ratios, and shoot mineral nutrient concentrations.