Canadian Forest Service Publications
Black spruce seedlings in a Kalmia–Vaccinium association: microsite manipulation to explore interactions in the field. 2004. Thiffault, N.; Titus, B.D.; Munson, A.D. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 34: 1657-1668.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 24977
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We established a field trial on an ericaceous-dominated clearcut in Quebec to determine the effect of Kalmia angustifolia L., Vaccinium angustifolium (Ait.), and V. myrtilloides (Michx.) on the growth and physiology of black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) seedlings and on soil characteristics over the first two growing seasons. Plots undergoing one of three treatments (shrub removal, humus removal, or undisturbed control) were planted with black spruce seedlings that were either unfertilized or spot fertilized at time of planting. In some of the undisturbed control plots, we also used 15NH415NO3 to compare uptake of broadcast N fertilizer by vegetation. The ericaceous shrubs had a significant negative impact on seedling growth. Growth reductions were not related to water stress, soil temperature, or soil moisture. Extractable NH4-N and P concentrations in mineral soil tended to decrease in the presence of ericaceous shrubs, but effects were not significant. Seedling foliar N concentration was also reduced in the presence of ericaceous shrubs. Of the total amount of 15N fertilizer found in vegetation, 64% was immobilized in Vaccinium spp., 31% in Kalmia, and 5% in black spruce, but spruce took up more 15N per unit of root biomass than the ericaceous shrubs. Kalmia had consistently higher predawn xylem water potentials than black spruce.