Current issue: 55(2)
Under compilation: 55(3)
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) is a deciduous tree species suitable for producing large amounts of renewable biomass during short rotations. Its potential under North European conditions could be largely extended if not only agricultural land but also forest land was used for cultivation. Unfortunately, the knowledge of appropriate forest site conditions and effects of site preparation methods on hybrid aspen establishment is limited. In this paper, two studies that explore these questions are presented. In the first study, the sensitivity to acid soils was tested under greenhouse conditions in two type of soils: a) peat soil limed to certain pH levels (3.4–5.7) and b) collected forest soils where pH varied from 3.9 to 5.3. The lowest pH level resulted in reduced growth, elsewhere no significant differences were found. The second study was applied in the field and investigated the effect of four site preparation methods on survival and growth. The methods were: 1) control with no site preparation, 2) patch scarification, 3) mounding and 4) soil inversion. While no differences were found for survival, mounding was generally the method with the highest growth and patch scarification was least successful. The result was probably an effect of good soil aeration and less competition from vegetation after mounding. The field study also revealed clonal differences in growth performance, which stresses the importance of clone selection prior to planting. The results of these studies indicate that hybrid aspen is less sensitive to variation in pH and site preparation methods compared with other poplar species, as have been found in similar studies.
In producing time series of soil properties, there are many technical and statistical problems which need to be taken into account when sampling and analysing the measurement data. In field the reliable localization of sample plots and the precise distinction of different soil layers are important to reduce the variance caused by the sampling procedure. In laboratory the use of same extraction salt, sample pretreatment procedure and filter paper throughout a measurement series is important. The remarkable small-scale variation within a sampling plot leads to a need of a large number of samples to be collected.
In this study, no trends attributable to soil acidification in the contents of exchangeable base cations could be found among the years 1982, 1985 and 1988. However, in eluvial and illuvial layers the pH decreased and the content of extractable H+ increased during this period. In illuvial layer also the content of extractable aluminium increased.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.