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Florence Renou-Wilson (email), Edward P. Farrell

The use of foliage and soil information for managing the nutrition of Sitka and Norway spruce on cutaway peatlands

Renou-Wilson F., Farrell E.P. (2007). The use of foliage and soil information for managing the nutrition of Sitka and Norway spruce on cutaway peatlands. Silva Fennica vol. 41 no. 3 article id 281. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.281


This investigation focuses on the development and nutrient status of the first Sitka spruce and Norway spruce stands established on milled cutaway peatlands in Ireland in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Phosphatic fertilization at planting is critical for the establishment of trees on cutaway peatlands but may not be sufficient to see the stands close canopy. Results from this study indicate the likely demand for P and N fertilizer during the rotation of these plantations. During the ten-year-study period (1994–2004), the nutrient status of both Norway and Sitka spruce stands deteriorated with the passage of time. Twenty-seven out of the twenty-eight examined stands became P deficient before 10 years old and half of the plots were N deficient within 13 to 15 years. Sitka spruce stands became N and P deficient earlier than Norway spruce. Regardless of species, tree stands growing on Sphagnum peat entered the critical N deficiency threshold sooner and were all severely deficient by 2004 compared to 22% of the trees growing on Phragmites peat. The effects of aerial re-fertilization were also site specific and although P deficiency was cured, the trees were likely to suffer from nutrient imbalance (N and Cu especially). These results demand a change of standard fertilization practices, which should be related more specifically to peat type and species requirements. Peat type identification and foliar analysis monitoring should become standard management tools while the long-term continuous monitoring of these new forests would be very valuable throughout their first rotation.

foliar analysis; long-term trend; Picea sitchensis; Picea abies; cutaway peatland; fertilization

Author Info
  • Renou-Wilson, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland ORCID ID:(email)
  • Farrell, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland ORCID ID:

Received 13 October 2006 Accepted 6 July 2007 Published 31 December 2007

Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.281 | Download PDF

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