Hydroponics as a Medium for Production of Tree Planting Stock1
- S. A. Wilde and
- D. E. Spyridakis2
This paper describes the technique of raising tree planting stock in nutrient solutions and summarizes the results of the field performance of hydroponically produced plants as observed during the past 20 years in Wisconsin. Raising tree seedlings in solutions for a period of from 6 to 12 weeks and the subsequent hardening of trees in nursery beds provided in 1 year planting stock which was fully comparable in size and growth potential to 3-year-old (2-1) transplants. Successful field trials included Alnus glutinosa, Thuja occidentalis, Picea glauca, Picea pungens, and Pinus resinosa; a stand of the latter tree is now 18 years old. Catalpa speciosa showed a remarkably rapid growth upon transplanting to nursery beds, but produced unmanageably bulky root systems.
The success of stock production depended upon suitable adjustment of nutrient solutions, control of their pH values and degree of oxygenation, and occasional pruning of roots. For afforestation of prairie soils, the stock required inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi. Significant advantages of hydroponic cultures are freedom of plants from damage by parasitic organisms and corresponding savings on biocides.
Under present conditions, the possibility of a wider use of tree hydroponics appears to be confined largely to the production of ornamental conifers which exhibit a very slow growth in nursery beds. Hydroponic cultures may also supplement in part the output of forest nurseries, serving largely as an outlet for employment of nursery personnel during the inactive period.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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