Current issue: 53(3)
Under compilation: 53(4)
The water retention characteristics and their variation in tree nurseries and related physical properties were determined for commercially produced growth media made of light slightly humified Sphagnum peat. A total of 100 samples of peat media were collected from filled seedling trays in the greenhouses of four Finnish nurseries in 1990. In addition, the physical properties were determined for two growth media made of compressed peat sheets and chips. The variation in water retention characteristics in nurseries was described using linear models with fixed and random effects. The sources of variation in the mixed linear models were producer, grade, batch (greenhouse) and sample (tray).
The water retention of the peat media at different matric potentials was comparable to that given in the literature. The media shrank an average of 0–16% during desorption. The peat grades were finer than the Nordic quality standards for peat growth media. Particles < 1 mm increased and particles 1–5 mm decreased the water retention characteristics measured. The greatest total variation in water retention was at -1 kPa. The water retention of the peat media differed least at -5 and -10 kPa. The water retention characteristics of media from different producers usually differed significantly. The grades, on the other hand, did not differ from each other in their water retention characteristics nor were there significant interactions between producer and grade. The batch effect was marked but was lower than the effect within batches, where the sample (tray) effect was greater than the effect due to random measurement error. At -10 kPa, the measurement error was, however, clearly greater than the sample effect. The random measurement error was comparable to the batch effect. Aeration of the growth media is dependent on the water content retained between saturation and -1 kPa. The water availability to seedlings at the nursery phase is affected mainly by water retention between -1 and -10 kPa.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
The matric potential and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of peat-based growth media in containers was measured continuously as a function of drying. The particle size distribution and the water retention characteristics of the media were determined from parallel samples. The growth media used were a light, coarse graded Sphagnum peat, a medium graded Sphagnum peat and a mixture of a perlite and the medium graded Sphagnum peat. Containers of two types were packed with the media and allowed to evaporate from saturation. Matric potential was measured automatically using tensiometers during drying.
In both container types, the matric potential of the media was similar down to 10 kPa at each of the three levels measured during drying. Further drying resulted in a large matric potential gradient between the upper and the middle levels. During drying, there was also clear shrinkage of the media. When the matric potential at the upper level reached ca. -80 kPa, the decrease in height of the media was 5–23 %. The estimated hydraulic conductivity of the media during drying was rather similar. The hydraulic conductivity of the peat-perlite mixture was, however, slightly lower than that of the pure peat media. The hydraulic conductivity decreased linearly on a log-log-scale from ca. 10-5 to less than 10-10 m/s as the matric potential decreased from -3 to -60 kPa. The hydraulic conductivity of the media was comparable to coarse sand at matric potentials below -10 kPa. The decrease in hydraulic conductivity during drying and the possible weakening of soil-root contact due to shrinkage may considerably affect the availability of water to plants.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
The purpose of this study was to compare the development of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings sown on substrates off milled peat and milled bark. Mille peat, ordinary milled bark, milled inner bark waste, and a mixture of milled peat and milled bark in the ratio of 1:1, were all compared in the plastic greenhouse. In addition, two fertilization applications were used with milled park: ordinary surface fertilization and double surface fertilization. The germination and development were measured twice during the summer.
It is concluded that milled bark seems to be a rather useful substrate for use in plastic greenhouses, as long as its special requirements are taken into consideration. In the first measurement, there were no differences between the treatments, in the second measurements seedlings growing on a mixture of peat and bark were slightly more developed than the others. Growth of the seedlings was slightly better in ordinary milled bark. Double surface fertilization increased disease and mortality compared to ordinary fertilization.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
The aims of the present study were to determine physical and physio-chemical properties of some Finnish forest tree nursery soils, and to examine relationships between these properties and the amount of organic matter in the soil.
The following soil tillage layer properties of 33 fields belonging to 8 forest tree nurseries were determined: soil particle size distribution, organic matter content, bulk density and density of solids, total pore space, soil water volume at potentials pF 2.0 and 4.2, available water content and air space at potential pF 2.0, active acidity, electrical conductivity index and cation exchange capacities at pH 4.5 and 8.0. The soil texture class of the tillage layer parent material was sand, only in a few cases did higher percentage of silt and clay indicate a morainic nature of parent material. The amount of organic material in the soils varied within wide limits, reflecting differences in amelioration policy between the single nurseries.
Relationships between the physical properties of the soil parent material and those related to fertility were in most cases strongly influenced by the amount of soil organic matter. Soil density values decreased as the organic matter content increased from 2 to 25%, giving rise to the increase in the total pore space. However, the amount of water held at potential pF 2.0 and the available water content did not increase with increasing organic matter content. This was due to the absence of the particle fraction in the sand. Nursery soil amelioration, involving in most cases a mixture of Sphagnum peat with sand, thus gives rise to an increase in the content of drainable water.
Cation exchange capacities were positively correlated with the organic matter content. However, the absolute number of exchange sites expressed as equivalents in the tillage layer did not increase in accordance with the increase in organic matter content due to the influence of the organic matter content upon the ratio of solids in the voids.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
This paper is a report of the authors visits to over 80 forestry nurseries in 20 countries mostly in the tropics or subtropics. The article aim is to describe the methods used in the various countries and compares them to the conventional methods of cool and temperate countries. The article introduces nurseries of Africa south of the Sahara, Mediterranean area, Australian and New Zealand and Latin America.
A complete revolution has taken place in the Finnish nursery practice, which used to raise the seedlings in natural field soil in open-air nurseries. The seedlings were usually transplanted into transplant beds at the age of two years. Now the use of plastic greenhouses of light construction and an artificial soil substrate (fertilized peat) are essential. The new technique has some similarities to the practises of the tropical and subtropical nurseries. In Finland cultivation in greenhouses has hastened the development of the seedlings and shortened the nursery rotation from four to two years, and provided better control of watering and fertilization.
Peat beds in greenhouses are used also in Swaziland. The advantage of peat is that it is free of weed seeds, which eliminates weeding. Peat substrate gives also better yield of seedlings, which decreases the need of seeds, which is important in Finland. Another technique common with tropical silviculture is the production of potted seedlings, which are easy to handle and transport. In tropics, peat pots (jiffy pots) have made it possible to grow plantable seedlings in one season without transplanting. The present Finnish technique means a decreased degree of mechanization compared to the conventional technique of modern European and American nurseries.