Combined effects of cotyledon excision and nursery fertilization on root growth, nutrient status and outplanting performance of Quercus variabilis container seedlings
Artificial excision of the distal part of acorns in order to promote germination is well researched in oak seedling cultivation studies. However, studies of combined effects of cotyledon excision and nursery fertilization on container seedlings are lacking, especially for seedling root growth and outplanting performance. This study aimed to explore the main effects of cotyledon excision on Quercus variabilis seedling emergence characteristics and demonstrated the combined effects of cotyledon excision and nursery fertilization on seedling quality to improve Quercus variabilis seedling outplanting performance. Four cotyledon excision treatments and two classes of nursery fertilization were implemented. Seedling emergence was noted every week after sowing. Seedling dry mass, morphology, and nutrient status were assessed at the end of the nursery season. After the first outplanting season, the aforementioned measurements along with seedling survival were determined once again. The results showed that cotyledon excision generally induced greater and more rapid seedling emergence, but did not affect shoot emergence synchronicity. The highest total emergence and emergence rate occurred with Intermediate excision (1/2 of the distal end of acorn was excised). Effects of nutrient loss due to cotyledon excision on seedling quality and outplanting performance were somewhat compensated by nursery fertilization. Nursery fertilization promoted dry mass increment (the net increment from T₀ to T₂ for dry mass) for excised seedlings after outplanting, resulting in better performance for Slight (1/3 of the distal end of acorn was excised) and Intermediate excision treatments in the field. Thus we conclude Intermediate excision combined with reasonable nursery fertilization can be recommended for production of nursery grown seedlings for afforestation.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsQuercus variabilis; germination; nursery fertilization; cotyledon excision; nutrient status assessment; General Science & Technology; Quercus; Cotyledon; Plant Roots; Fertilizers; Biomass; Seedlings
© 2017 Shi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.