Canadian Forest Service Publications
Comparison of manure compost and mineral fertilizer for hybrid poplar plantation establishment on boreal heavy clay soils. 2011. Larcheveque, M.; Desrochers, A.; Larocque, G.R. Ann. For. Sci. 68:849-860.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 34702
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• Introduction. Clay soils are typically rich in nutrients but are often compact and hard during summer increasing planting shock by limiting root development. Recycling farm manure in hybrid poplar plantations may offer additional benefits to mineral fertilizer as organic amendment can create better conditions for the early development of roots in addition to nutrient release.
• Material and methods. Composted sheep manure (10 and 20 kg/tree) at planting was compared to N and P mineral fertilization (15 g 34.5–0–0 with 15 g 0–45–0, provided by placed fertilization and 30 g 34.5–0–0 with 30 g 0–45–0).
• Results. The highest dose of mineral fertilization was the most efficient approach to increase poplar growth (height, diameter, biomass, leaf, and root development) for the three tested clones. However, trees were more water stressed with less negative δ13C in leaves the second year of growth.
• Discussion. Contrary to what we expected, compost treatments neither increased root development nor tree water status even if they succeeded in improving soil waterholding properties. This may be due to the type of planting stock (rootstock with pruned stems), which reduce water stress by synchronizing leaf and root development, or to compost high maturity and slow mineralization rate under boreal climate. However, compost manure also gave positive growth benefits and could represent a cheaper alternative to synthetic fertilizers in the vicinity of animal feedlots.