Current issue: 53(3)
The biomass production and nutrient uptake of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth), downy birch (Betula pubescens Erhr.), grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench), native willows Salix triandra L. and S. phylicifolia L. and exotic willows S. x dasyclados and S. ’Aquatica’ growing on a clay mineral soil field (Sukeva) and on two cut-away peatland areas (Piipsanneva, Valkeasuo) were investigated.
Biomass production of downy birch was greater than that of silver birch, and the biomass production of the native willows greater than that of the exotic ones. The performance of S. phylicifolia was the best of the studied willow species. Exotic willows were susceptible to frost damage and their winter hardiness was poor. The production of all species was lower on the clay mineral soil field than on the cut-away peatland areas. Fertilization of birches and alder – on the double dose given to the willows – increased biomass production. After 6 growing seasons the leafless biomass production of fertilized silver birch at Piipsanneca was 21 t ha-1 (at Valkeasuo 34 t ha-1) and of grey alder 24 t ha-1, and that of S. triandra after five growing seasons 31 t ha-1, S. phylicifolia 38 t ha-1 and of S. x dasyclados 16 t ha-1.
6-year-old stands of silver birch bound more nutrients per unit biomass than downy birch stands. Grey alder bound more N, Ca and Co but less Mn and Zn per unit biomass than silver and downy birch. On the field more P was bound in grey alder per unit biomass compared to downy birch. The willows had more K per unit biomass than the other tree species, and the exotic willow species more N than the native ones. Less N, K and Mg were bound per unit biomass of S. phylicifolia compared to the other tree species.
The effects of repeated fertilizer treatment on biomass production and nutrient status of willow (Salix ’Aquatica’) plantations established on two cut-away peatland areas in western Finland were studied over a rotation period of three years. Comparisons were made between single fertilizer applications and repeated annual fertilization.
The annually repeated fertilizer application increased the amounts of acid ammonium acetate extractable phosphorus and potassium in the soil as well as the concentrations of foliar nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compared to single application. Depending on the fertilizer treatment and application rate, annual fertilizer application resulted in over two times higher biomass production when compared to single fertilizer application over a three-year rotation period. The effect of phosphorus fertilizer application lasted longer than that of nitrogen. The optimum fertilization regime for biomass production requires that nitrogen fertilizer should be applied annually, but the effect of phosphorus can last at least over a rotation of three years. Potassium fertilizer treatment did not increase the yield in any of the experiments during the first three years. The leafless, above-ground yield of three-year-old, annually NP-fertilized willow plantations was 9.5 t ha-1 and the total biomass, including stems, leaves, roots and the stump, averaged 17 t ha-1.