Microfibril angle and density patterns of fertilized and irrigated Norway spruce
Two Norway spruce nutrient optimisation trials, one in the north of Sweden and one in the south, were used to study the effects of intensive growth and fertilization on wood density and microfibril angle. Three different treatments and a control were available; daily irrigation, daily liquid fertilization and solid fertilization. The nutrient optimisation was based on foliage analysis and the solid fertilization essentially comprised the same amount of nutrients but was applied annually in solid form. Measurements of density and microfibril angle (MFA) were performed using X-ray diffraction. Growth rate, expressed as a transformation of annual ring width, was very important at the southern site when the effect of cambial maturation had been taken into account. Effects of both fertilization and irrigation remained strong and significant for density, and irrigation was a significant factor explaining MFA. At the northern site distance from pith was the dominant factor but the effect of growth rate was also strong and the treatment effect was significant for both density and MFA. The combination of higher MFA and decrease in density for fertilized trees resulted in a lower calculated strength of the wood. An over 100% increase in ring width only corresponded to approximately a 20% decrease in wood density and the production of wood dry matter was hence increased by treatments.
Received 23 June 2003 Accepted 4 February 2004 Published 31 December 2004