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Effects of wood ash and nitrogen fertilization on fine root biomass and soil and foliage nutrients in a Norway spruce stand in Finland

Helmisaari, Heljä-Sisko, Saarsalmi, Anna, Kukkola, Mikko
Plant and soil 2009 v.314 no.1-2 pp. 121-132
Picea abies, base saturation, biomass, boron, cadmium, calcium, conifer needles, copper, exchangeable calcium, fertilizer application, fine roots, magnesium, manganese, nickel, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, nutrients, phosphorus, potassium, soil pH, tree growth, wood ash, zinc, Finland
We determined the effects of wood ash fertilization, given together with nitrogen (WAN), and nitrogen given together with P, B and Cu (SSF), on soil and foliage nutrients and fine root biomass in a 45-year-old Norway spruce stand in southern Finland. Fine roots were sampled 9 years, and the soil 10 years after ash (3 t/ha) and nitrogen (150 kg/ha) application. Fine root biomass tended to be lower, the necromass higher, and the fine root distribution relatively deeper on the WAN than on the control and SSF plots. The response of fine root biomass to WAN was probably related to changes in soil acidity. pH, base saturation, total and extractable concentrations of Ca, K, Mg and P, and total B, Cd, Mn, Ni and Zn concentrations in the organic layer were significantly higher on the WAN plots than on the SSF and the control plots with no ash and nutrient addition. On the WAN plots, the pH was 1.2 pH-units higher, the exchangeable Ca concentrations fourfold and those of Mg over twofold compared to the control plots. WAN increased the concentrations of K but decreased those of Mn and Ni in the needles compared to the control and SSF treatment. Even though ash and nitrogen fertilisation tended to decrease the fine root biomass, this decrease was not likely to affect tree growth during a 10-year period.