Current issue: 54(2)
Willows (Salix phylicifolia) were grown for four months in organic rich soil at four nutrient levels (fertilization with a micronutrient-macronutrient mixture of 0, 100, 500 and 1,000 kg ha-1 per month) and four CO2 concentrations (300, 500, 700 and 1,000 ppm). Nitrogen and phosphorus concentration of the willows were reduced at CO2 enhancement, the decrease being larger in the leave and roots than in the stems. Nitrogen content of the willows plus extractable nitrate-N in the soil coincided well with the doses of nitrogen supplied, but the corresponding sum of phosphorus in the plants and soil were smaller. The total nitrogen content of willows grown in unfertilized soil was nearly two times higher than the sum of the extractable nitrate-N in soil and N content of the cutting at the beginning of the experiment. The contents of nitrogen and phosphorus of the unfertilized willows were independent of CO2 concentration, suggesting that CO2 concentration did not affect through increased mineralization the availability of those nutrients to the willows.
The biomass production and nutrient uptake of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth), downy birch (Betula pubescens Erhr.), grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench), native willows Salix triandra L. and S. phylicifolia L. and exotic willows S. x dasyclados and S. ’Aquatica’ growing on a clay mineral soil field (Sukeva) and on two cut-away peatland areas (Piipsanneva, Valkeasuo) were investigated.
Biomass production of downy birch was greater than that of silver birch, and the biomass production of the native willows greater than that of the exotic ones. The performance of S. phylicifolia was the best of the studied willow species. Exotic willows were susceptible to frost damage and their winter hardiness was poor. The production of all species was lower on the clay mineral soil field than on the cut-away peatland areas. Fertilization of birches and alder – on the double dose given to the willows – increased biomass production. After 6 growing seasons the leafless biomass production of fertilized silver birch at Piipsanneca was 21 t ha-1 (at Valkeasuo 34 t ha-1) and of grey alder 24 t ha-1, and that of S. triandra after five growing seasons 31 t ha-1, S. phylicifolia 38 t ha-1 and of S. x dasyclados 16 t ha-1.
6-year-old stands of silver birch bound more nutrients per unit biomass than downy birch stands. Grey alder bound more N, Ca and Co but less Mn and Zn per unit biomass than silver and downy birch. On the field more P was bound in grey alder per unit biomass compared to downy birch. The willows had more K per unit biomass than the other tree species, and the exotic willow species more N than the native ones. Less N, K and Mg were bound per unit biomass of S. phylicifolia compared to the other tree species.
For biomass forestry in the inland parts of Southern and Central Finland, the obvious choice of willow species is Salix myrsinifolia. However, selection of clones of indigenous species has not yet been completed and more research and selection is needed. In the Piipsanneva old peatland trial, indigenous species of willow, mostly clones of S. myrsinifolia and S. phylicifolia, were compared in terms of biomass production, coppicing, height growth and diameter distributions. In this trial, the mean annual biomass production was not particularly high; more important results were attained in the ranking of clones. The trial strengthens the hypothesis that, over the long-term, the biomass production of S. myrsinifolia is higher than that of S. phylicifolia. It was supposed that behind the highest yield there was a clone with uniform quality, one whose diameter distribution would be narrow and positively skewed. Comparisons of parameters of Weibull functions showed that the distributions of the best clones were wide, indicating that those clones use the whole growth space better than those with narrow distribution.
The effect of spacing on the first-year yield and height increment of Alnus incana (L.) Moench, Populus tremula L. x Populus tremuloides Michx. (Populus x wettsteinii), Salix ’Aquatica Gigantea’, and Salix phylicifolia L. was studied at the Arctic Circle Agricultural Experimental Station in Northern Finland. S. ’Aquatica Gigantea’ gave yields which were twice as high as those of the other species in the study. The highest yields were of the order of 60 tons per hectare (fresh yield including foliage). The annual height growth in S. ’Aquatica Gigantea’ was about 100 cm, in the others about 30–50 cm. S. ’Aquatica Gigantea’ had a maximal height growth when the distance between the seedlings was 25 cm.
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