Current issue: 53(4)
Dormant needles from 129 Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) trees from the 2nd and 3rd topmost whorls were collected from spruce stands locating fairly close to each other. Tree height varied from 8 to 25 metres. Trees with and without visual potassium deficiency symptoms in needles were selected and analysed for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, boron, copper, zinc, and 3 free polyamines putrescine, spermine and spermidine.
The concentrations of all the analysed nutrients ranged from deficient to satisfactory levels. Free putrescine, spermidine and spermine concentrations in the current needles had a wide variation between the trees. Spermidine had a positive and spermine a negative correlation with potassium. Putrescine had a strong negative correlation with potassium with statistically significant increase in putrescine starting at potassium concentrations below 5.4 mg/g dry weight. The regression between putrescine and potassium changed from a linear to a non-linear form at the potassium concentration of 4.2–4.6 mg/g dry weight representing a severe K deficiency limit. The corresponding K/P ratio was 2.6–2.7. Extremely low phosphorus concentrations (P < 1.0 mg/g) lowered putrescine concentrations, but otherwise the relationships between putrescine, spermidine or spermine and potassium concentrations were unaffected by tree nutrition. At adequate potassium levels the putrescine concentrations were only slightly lower in trees taller than 20 metres than in trees of 8–16 metres height. The results show that the needle putrescine concentration can be used quite reliably for describing potassium nutrition of Norway spruce in varying nutritional and tree size conditions.