Canadian Forest Service Publications

Changes in the physical properties of two Acacia compost-based growing media and their effects on carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) seedling development. 2013. Bakry, M.; Lamhamedi, M.S.; Caron, J.; Bernier, P.Y.; Zine El Abidine, A.; Stowe, D.C.; Margolis, H.A. New Forests 44:827-847.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35931

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s11056-013-9368-6

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In arid zones, the use of compost for plant production in forest nurseries is hindered by a lack of water. The main objectives of this study were (1) to evaluate the physical stability of composts produced from shredded branches of Acacia cyanophylla and A. Cyclops subjected to a repeated drying and wetting cycles, similar to those used at the operational scale in nurseries in arid regions and to compare these composts with a standard peat-vermiculite (PV) substrate; (2) to identify the relevant substrate physical variables that correlate with seedling growth. Carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) was cultivated during a production cycle of 27 weeks in a completely randomized block experiment. Substrate physical variables were measured at the beginning, middle and end of the experiment. Seedling growth variables were evaluated over the course of the production cycle, while gas exchange and water-relation variables were measured during a wetting and drying cycle at the end of the experiment. All three substrates produced vigorous seedlings with well-developed root systems that colonized the entire root plug. The growth of seedlings produced in the PV substrate was better than those grown in the compost-based substrates. No significant differences in gas exchange capacities and water relation variables were observed among the three substrates at the end of experiment with the exception of net photosynthesis, which was higher for the PV substrate at high substrate matric potential. Excessive drainage was negatively correlated with growth variables while water availability in the early growth phase and air porosity towards the end of experiment were positively correlated. Performance of the two composts could be increased by improving their initial structure and stability and by adjusting the irrigation regime.