Current issue: 54(2)
The effects of wood ash fertilisation on tree nutrition and growth on forested peatlands has been studied using loose ash, but in practice, ash fertilisation is done almost exclusively with granulated ash. In this study, the effects of granulated ash and loose ash (both 5 Mg ha–1) on the growth and nutrition of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands were compared between a nitrogen-poor and a nitrogen-rich site over 15 years. On the nitrogen-rich site, wood ash application was also compared with commercial PK fertilisation. On the nitrogen-rich site, mean stand volume growth increase over unfertilised control treatment during the 15 year study period using granulated ash and commercial PK fertiliser was of the same magnitude (on average, 2.2–2.3 m3 ha–1 a–1). However, when loose ash was used growth increase over control was higher (3.7 m3 ha–1 a–1). On the nitrogen-poor site, the mean growth increase gained by loose or granulated ash (1.4–1.5 m3 ha–1 a–1) over the unfertilised control treatment was not significant. Fertilisation with loose ash or PK increased foliar P, K and B concentrations already in the first or second growing season, following fertilisation on both sites. Granulated ash increased foliar P concentrations on the nitrogen-rich site less than loose ash. After an initial increase, foliar P, K and B concentrations decreased at the end of study period. On the nitrogen-poor site, foliar P concentrations were below the deficiency limit by the end of the study period.
Soil respiration readings are reported for three ameliorated peatland sites of different types, covering a period of four years, during which the sites were drained and treated with various fertilizers. Respiration is shown to increase exponentially with temperature, varying mostly in the range 100–500 mg CO2 m-2 h-1. The changes in soil respiration followed those in surface temperature with a time-lag of approximately 3–3.5 hours. At one site, where the groundwater table dropped by about 0.5 m after ditching, soil respiration increased 2.5-fold within a few weeks, whereas at the other two sites both the fall in the groundwater table and the resultant changes in soil respiration were small.
The fertilizers tested were slow-dissolving PK, fast-dissolving PK, wood ash, slow-dissolving PK + urea, slow-dissolving PK + Nitroform (urea formaldehyde) and slow-dissolving PK + urea + a micro-element mixture. Application of fast-dissolving PK + urea led to a rapid increase in soil respiration at the site poorest in nutrients, and slow-dissolving PK to a slow increase in respiration. The greatest, steady increase of all was achieved by treatment with ash. At the sites with a higher natural nutrient content the application of fertilizers usually led to a decline in soil respiration lasting 1–2 years, after which the initial level was normally regained. Treatment with micro-elements caused an initial fall in soil respiration values in all three biotopes, followed by a pronounced increase.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.