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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Douglas Fir Growth and Foliar Nutrient Responses to Nitrogen and Sulfur Fertilization


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 54 No. 1, p. 257-262
    Received: Mar 30, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. John I. Blake ,
  2. H. N. Chappell,
  3. W. S. Bennett,
  4. S. P. Gessel and
  5. S. R. Webster
  1. School of Forestry, 108 M. White Smith Hall, Auburn Univ., AL 36849-5418
    College of Forest Resources, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
    Lewis County Extension Office, P.O. Box 708, Chehalis, WA 98532



Nitrogen-fertilizer response in conifer stands of the Pacific Northwest has been related to soil and foliar S, and growth has occasionally been enhanced by the addition of S. In order to test the effect of soil SO4-S concentrations on N response, five stands of Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, with low to moderate quantities of SO4-S in the mineral soil horizon were treated with N and with N plus S. Sulfate-S concentrations varied among soils from 6.0 to 19.2 mg S kg−1 in the surface soil and from 6.0 to 78.7 mg S kg−1 in the subsoil. Three treatments were applied: control, 224 kg N ha−1 as urea, and 224 kg N ha−1 plus 112 kg S ha−1 as a mixture of urea and (NH4)2SO4. Adjusted gross volume growth responses to N alone averaged −1.63 to 6.26 m3 ha−1 yr−1 after 3 to 4 yr; average volume growth gains from application of N with S over application of N alone varied from 0.73 to 4.5 m3 ha−1 yr−1 at four locations. At one location, the N-alone effect was greater than that from N with S. Foliar N concentrations in the N-with-S treatments were generally higher than in the N-alone treatments. Little change in foliar-S content occurred in the N-with-S plots. Mean treatment effects were unrelated to foliar N/S, total S, or foliar SO4-S on the controls, and the relationship between soil SO4-S and the differential growth response between N and N with S was highly variable. Treatments were reapplied at a rate of 448 kg N ha−1, 224 kg S ha−1, and 9 kg B ha−1. Four-year growth effects were similar to the first period except at one location where N responses appeared greatly improved by B. Periodic annual growth response to N over the entire study period was inversely related to site index and directly related to foliar N content. Prescriptions involving S will require more efficient S sources and a better assessment of S uptake and S reactions in these soils.

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