Current issue: 53(4)
Yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium Bunge) has been widely planted for biodiesel production in China, but has frequently shown poor field performance. Container-grown yellowhorn seedlings originating from three Chinese provenances, Wengniute Qi (WQ), Alukeerqin Qi (AQ), and Shanxian (SX), were fertilized with slow-release fertilizer (SRF) at 40, 80, 120, 160 or 200 mg N seedling–1. Tree growth, survival and nutrient content were measured after one year’s growth in a greenhouse followed by two years in a field site. Plants from AQ and SX tended to have higher stem and root P contents in the nursery. Higher rates of SRF increased root N, and stem and root P contents. After one year in the nursery, there were a number of interactions between provenance and SRF for plant growth responses and nutrient content in the nursery, however after two years of additional growth in the field, plants from the different provenances generally responded similarly to applied SRF in the nursery, with few interactions. Final plant height was approximately 10% lower in trees from provenance SX but was not affected by application of SRF. Conversely, final trunk diameter and stem and root biomass were unaffected by provenance but increased with higher rates of applied SRF. Our results indicate that application of SRF may be a useful tool to nutrient load yellowhorn in the nursery and facilitate transplanting performance in the field. Overall, optimal nursery and field performance of yellowhorn were observed in provenance AQ at 120–200 mg N seedling–1 SRF. We suggest that growers consider a wider range of yellowhorn provenances and SRF rates (above 200 mg N seedling–1) to yield even better growth response.