Effect of different innovative substrate mediums on roots characterization of European beech Fagus sylvatica L. and pedunculate oak Quercus robur L. seedlings
Wpływ różnych podłoży na charakterystykę korzeni sadzonek buka zwyczajnego Fagus sylvatica L. i dębu szypułkowego Quercus robur L.
Sylwan 167 (9):535-548, 2023
Available online: 2023-12-20
Open Access (CC-BY)
forest seedlings • peat • peat−free organic substrate • root

The development of a root system is crucial for the effective establishment of forest tree seedlings. There are various seedling production methods in nurseries adopted by professionals and foresters to guarantee quality root systems aimed at successful forest plantations. This study evaluated the effect of different innovative, peat−free organic substrates (R20, R21 and R22) on the root system and nutrient content in the root zone of European beech and pedunculate oak seedlings. This was done to examine if the newly designed substrate and liquid fertilizer formulated by the University of Agriculture in Krakow (UAK) would successfully grow seedlings that meet the existing characteristics of those raised with peat substrate and solid fertilizer. Although the properties and granulometric composition of the substrates were different during the production process of the seedlings, two different Osmocote fertilizers (solid 3−4M and 5−6M) were applied. Fertilization used in the State Forest nurseries based on the set standard was represented with SR20, SR21 and SR22, while the novel fertilizer developed by UAK was represented with UR20, UR21 and UR22. Meanwhile, SC and UC represent the control substrates (peat) in both cases, respectively. The substrates developed by UAK were adapted to the nutritional requirements of the forest tree seedlings and their suitability was monitored using nursery technology with a covered root system in multi−pot containers. The experiment was laid out in a 2×2×4 (2 species, 2 types of fertilizers and four different substrates) experimental design using five seedlings per treatment. The results of the study indicated that the innovative substrate and fertilizer support root system development and aid sufficient macro element content for seedling production in the nursery. Treatment UR20 recorded the highest mean value of total root length in both species. A significant variation was observed from the analysis of nutrients in the root system. Conclusively, substrate mediums developed under this study have proven to possess qualities not worse than the substrate based on peat because the root system is adequately well developed. This guarantees the quantity and reliability of supplies and could replace high peat in the substrate formula.

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