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  • Author or Editor: Carleton B. Wood x
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Commonly used planting techniques and soil amendments were compared to determine their effect on root growth, shoot growth, and drought tolerance of 2.5 cm caliper Acer rubrum. Study I: Trees were planted on 6 April 1992 into holes backfilled with 1) native soil, 2) 50% aged pine bark: 50% native soil, 3) 50% Mr. Natural™:50% native soil, or 4) 100% Mr. Natural™. Mr. Natural™ consists of granite sand, expanded shale, and composted poultry litter. After two years, no differences in growth or survival existed. Study II: On 8 April 1992, trees were planted in 1) unamended planting holes, 2) tilled planting beds, or 3) tilled and pine bark-amended planting beds. Five months after planting, the root growth in the tilled and tilled-amended beds did not differ, but both had more root growth than planting holes. Amendment-induced nitrogen deficiency reduced shoot growth of the tilled-amended treatment during the first year. After two years, the planting hole treatment exhibited the least shoot growth, while shoot growth of tilled and tilled-amended treatments did not differ. StudyIII: Selected trees in study II were drought stressed for 8 weeks beginning 4 August 1993. No differences in relative leaf water content among treatments were observed Results suggest that native soil should be used as backfill in planting holes; however, tilling a planting bed increases root and shoot growth compared to planting in a hole. Amending beds with pine bark did not increase growth or drought tolerance.

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Container-grown Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum `Mariesii' were planted in tilled beds and tilled beds amended with aged pine bark. After transplanting, plants were fertilized at three different rates: no fertilizer, 18.4 g of N m-2, and 36.8 g of N m-2. A 31 day drought was begun 73 days after planting. Fertilization of tilled plots induced ammonium toxicity, which caused a linear reduction in leaf area, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight. Fertilization of amended plots had no effect on shoot growth but reduced mot growth by 54%; thus, amendments ameliorated ammonium toxicity. Between 10 and 28 days after beginning the drought, plants in unfertilized-amended plots maintained higher relative leaf water contents (RLWC) and relative leaf expansion rates (RLER) than plants in unfertilized-tilled plots. Amendment induced nitrogen deficiencies contributed to the increased drought tolerance of plants from unfertilized-amended plots. Since fertilized plants developed symptoms of ammonium toxicity, we were unable to determine if increasing fertility would counteract the drought tolerance conferred by pine bark soil amendments.

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Container-grown Viburnum plicatum Thunb. var. tomentosum (Thunb.) Miq. `Mariesii' were planted in unamended planting holes, tilled plots, and tilled plots amended with aged pine bark. A 36-day drought was initiated 108 days after planting. Amending induced N deficiencies, reduced shoot growth, and increased root growth. Plants harvested from tilled and planting-hole plots at drought initiation had 63% and 68% more dry weight, respectively, than plants from amended plots. Between 8 and 19 days after drought (DAD) initiation, plants from tilled plots maintained higher relative leaf water content (RLWC) than plants from planting holes. Plants in amended plots maintained higher RLWC than both other treatments between 7 and 33 DAD. Amended and tilled treatments had higher relative leaf expansion rates (RLERs) than the planting-hole treatment 8, 11, 13, and 15 DAD. As the drought lengthened, plants in amended plots maintained higher RLERs than plants in tilled plots. While plants in pine bark-amended plots were more drought tolerant than those in tilled plots, it is unclear if increased drought tolerance was caused by the improved rooting environment or N deficiency.

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