Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of Ascophyllum nodosum extract application in the nursery on root growth of containerized white spruce seedlings. 2013. MacDonald, J.E.; Hacking, J.; Weng, Y.; Norrie, J. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 93: 735–739.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34939

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.4141/CJPS2012-268

† This site may require a fee

Mark record


In this preliminary study, Picea glauca seedlings were root drenched with a commercial liquid extract of Ascophyllum nodosum in finisher fertilizer (8N-20P-30K) at the following rates: 1:500, 1:250, 1:125, and 1:75. Fertilizer alone served as control. Applications were made four or eight times over a period of 17 or 43 days, respectively. Compared with control, all rates reduced total root system length in mid October by 44-54%. After freezer storage and then growing under favorable conditions in spring for 21 d, the 1:125 and 1:75 rates increased the number of white roots emerging from the intact peat plug by 42 and 63%, respectively.

Plain Language Summary

We gave white spruce seedlings varying concentrations of a seaweed supplement during late-summer nursery culture. The next spring, we grew seedlings for several weeks in a greenhouse before counting new roots. Two concentrations doubled the number of new roots on seedlings compared with those not given the seaweed supplement. This suggests that a seaweed supplement in the nursery may increase root growth after spring planting on harvested forest lands. New root growth supplies water to newly planted seedlings and is essential for seedling survival. As the climate changes and spring drought events occur more often, strong root growth will be essential for the survival of new plantations. When these plantations are harvested, they supply wood to the forest industry that supports Canada’s economy.