Container-grown seedlings of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) usually have high quality. Their use for reforestation and afforestation can significantly extend the timelines for establishing stands and significantly increase the survival of planted trees.
The successful growth of containerized pine seedlings depends on the nutrient content of the substrate on which they are grown and its humidity. At the same time, the optimal substrate composition and the growth duration of container pine seedlings have not been thoroughly studied.
The aim of the research was to determine the optimal substrate composition for growing containerized seedlings of Scots pine in multi-cell growing trays.
Materials and Methods
The research on how much the substrate composition influences both biometric indicators (average diameter and average height) and the mass of aboveground and root parts of one-year-old container-grown Scots pine seedlings was conducted in 2021 in the greenhouse of Krasnolymanske Forestry in the Lyman State Forest Enterprise, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
In total, six experimental variants with different substrate composition for growing seedlings were laid out.
The average height of the seedlings ranged from 4.1 to 6.0 cm in different variants. The average diameter of the seedlings was in the range of 0.7–1.2 mm in different variants.
The total weight of the seedlings in the air-dry state in different experimental variants ranged from 0.34 to 1.08 g.
The highest ratio of seedling root and aboveground part masses and the proportion of root mass in the total mass of pine seedlings were recorded in variant with a mixture of peat (60%), sandy soil (20%) and agroperlite (20%) – 0.9 and 47%, respectively. In the control that had a mixture of peat (90%) and sawdust (10%) as a substrate, their values were the lowest – 0.7 and 40%, respectively.
In general, the pine seedlings grown in multi-cell trays with a mixture of 90% peat and 10% agroperlite by volume had the highest values of both biometric indicators (average height and average diameter) and total weight of seedlings in the air-dry state as compared to the control, while the seedlings grown on a mixture of 90% peat and 10% bark by volume showed the lowest values.
The results of the research were taken into account during the development of the draft national standard of Ukraine «Containerised planting material of Scots pine. Specifications».
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