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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 2, p. 427-439
    Received: Feb 17, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): jmkelly@iastate.edu
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Hardwood Seedling Root and Nutrient Parameters for a Model of Nutrient Uptake

  1. J.M. Kelly *a,
  2. J.D. Scarbroughb and
  3. P.A. Maysb
  1. a Dep. of Forestry, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011-1021
    b Tennessee Valley Authority, P.O. Box 920, Norris, TN 37838-0920


Use of mechanistic models is an increasingly accepted way to evaluate complex processes. The Barber-Cushman model provides a means to simulate nutrient uptake once information on root system characteristics, nutrient uptake, and soil nutrient supply are developed. Objectives of this study were to determine during a growing season: (i) root growth for 1-yr-old black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.), northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.), and red maple (Acer rubrum L.) seedlings; (ii) net plant increase in N, P, K, Ca, and Mg; (iii) soil solution and solid phase nutrient concentrations; and (iv) the influence of root growth and soil nutrient supply changes on nutrient uptake using the Barber-Cushman model. Seedlings were grown in pots containing A horizon soil from two forest sites. Measurements were made on five occasions during the growing season. Root growth averaged 41.5 cm d−1 for red maple compared with 28.0 and 16.7 cm d−1 for cherry and oak, respectively. Seventy-five percent of root growth occurred at the end of the growing season. Total plant N showed the greatest change (25–58%) due to soil source. Model simulations underestimated observed uptake by 31 to 99%. A clear relationship between soil solution nutrient concentration and plant uptake, an important assumption of the model, was not observed. Results indicate care will need to be exercised in the development and use of root growth and nutrient supply values in mechanistic models.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:427–439.