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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 1, p. 108-120
    Received: Apr 5, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): mohammed.lamhamedi@mrnf.gouv.qc.ca


Spatial Variability of Substrate Water Content and Growth of White Spruce Seedlings

  1. Mohammed S. Lamhamedi *a,
  2. Louise Labbéb,
  3. Hank A. Margolisb,
  4. Debra C. Stoweb,
  5. Louis Blaisa and
  6. Mario Renauda
  1. a Direction de la recherche forestière, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, 2700, rue Einstein, Sainte-Foy, QC, G1P 3W8, Canada
    b Faculté de foresterie et de géomatique, Pavillon Abitibi-Price, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, QC, GIK 7P4, Canada


Irrigation by jet-type sprinklers contributes to the spatial variability of substrate water content and growth of containerized white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss.] seedlings grown outdoors during their second growing season. Geostatistical analyses were used to identify the spatial structure of this variability throughout the growing season and to help develop a sampling strategy to facilitate irrigation management. Boundary line analysis confirmed that the heterogeneity of height growth is related to seasonal variations in substrate water content and that maximum height growth and seedling biomass is attained when average seasonal substrate water content is approximately 40% (v/v). Parameters estimated from semi-variograms, most notably the range (a) and total variance (C 0 + C 1) of substrate water content, can be used to define sampling strategies specific to irrigation management and morphophysiological evaluation of seedlings. The relationship between leaching and substrate water content can be used, in conjunction with kriged maps, to estimate potential losses of mineral nutrients and to quantify water use for the production of white spruce seedlings during their second growing season in a forest nursery. More than 15% of the seedlings in the crop used in the present study were rejected at delivery. Knowledge of the spatial variability within a crop enables forest nurserymen to modify sampling techniques and cultural practices, produce more uniform seedlings and reduce the quantity of seedlings that fail to meet morphophysiological criteria.

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