Growth of Scots Pine and Silver Birch Seedlings on Different Nursery Container Media
Peat has been the most common growing medium in tree nurseries, either alone or as a component of growing media mixes. However, as a result of increasing costs and decreasing amount of peat, seedling-growers are seeking more local growing medium components. In this study, container seedlings of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) were grown in pure peat and peat mixtures containing perlite and zeolite. Physical parameters (height, shoot diameter, root dry weight, shoot dry weight, total dry weight) were measured along with several morphological parameters (sturdiness quotient, height/diameter, shoot/root ratio). The zeolite additive in peat changed some media properties, and significant relation was established between some morphological attributes of seedlings and some medium properties in both species. On average, the seedlings grew best in pure peat, but zeolite additions to peat did not affect some morphological parameters negatively. The results suggest that zeolite has potential to be used as a component of peat based growing medium mixtures, and addition of zeolite to peat container medium in proportions of 10% by volume in Scots pine and up to 20% in silver birch was shown to be a feasible material for growing Scots pine and silver birch seedlings.
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