Current issue: 54(3)
Under compilation: 54(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.
Seasonal fluctuations in free polyamines, spermidine, spermine, putrescine and potassium concentrations were studied for two years (1992–1993) in three needle years of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) grown on a drained mire in western Finland. Seven different fertilizer treatments involving five different sources of potassium were used.
Putrescine concentrations were high in winter and in May but low in summer. High peaks in putrescine in March and May could be found in unrefertilized or rock phosphate treatments. Spermidine and spermine concentrations were high in March and May. In December spermine concentrations were low. Biotite increased the needle potassium concentrations less than the other potassium fertilizers but the putrescine concentrations or the putrescine/spermidine ratio to about the same level. This suggests that biotite, although very slowly soluble, can reasonably satisfy potassium nutrition of young pine trees.
The potassium concentrations of needles in all the fertilization treatments were higher in winter than in summer. The response of putrescine to the potassium concentration was strongly negative in all the needle years and sampling times. In March, May and December the response of putrescine to potassium was fairly similar in both years but not in June and August. The results suggest that the potassium concentrations during the growing season cannot be used for estimating the potassium nutrition of trees, because the variation between the years may be substantial, whereas the needle putrescine concentration or putrescine/spermidine ratio indicates the suboptimum potassium status of Scots pine fairly well. Needle putrescine concentrations over 500 nmol g-1FW quite regularly coincided with a unsatisfactory potassium nutrition and concentrations over 1,000 nmol g-1FW were a reliable indication of potassium deficiency. Putrescine/spermidine ratios below 5 indicated a satisfactory potassium nutrition in all needle years throughout the year.