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Evaluating effects of nursery and post-planting nutrient regimes on leaf chemistry and browsing of eucalypt seedlings in plantations

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 15:58 authored by Dugald CloseDugald Close, McArthur, C, Pietrzykowski, E, Hugh FitzgeraldHugh Fitzgerald, Paterson, SC
We examined the effects of nursery and field nutrient treatments on leaf chemistry and browsing during establishment of Eucalyptus globulus (two trials; Cressy and Dunalley) and Eucalyptus nitens (one trial; Tyenna) seedlings. Seedlings had high- or low-fertilizer application treatments in the nursery, were fertilized or not in the field and were individually fenced (used for leaf chemistry sampling) or not (used for browsing assessment). The high-fertilizer nursery treatment resulted in relatively high foliar nitrogen (N) and low tannin content (all seedling types), and high total essential oils (seedling batch planted at Cressy only), but nursery fertilizer level did not affect dry matter, neutral detergent (NDF) or acid detergent fibre (ADF) or lignin. After planting, levels of N, tannins and total essential oils changed over time, but the degree differed between sites. Field fertilizing generally had no effect on leaf chemistry during 10 weeks after planting. Across sites, the pattern of browsing was the same. Seedlings with the high-fertilizer nursery treatment were browsed more than the low-fertilizer nursery treatment, though the difference was only significant at two of the three sites. Thus trends in browsing damage were consistent with differences in foliar N and tannins as a result of nursery- and not field fertilizing treatment. Manipulation of seedling chemistry, using particular fertilizer application regimes in the nursery, may be one tool for managers wishing to decrease seedling damage by browsers, particularly when browsing severity is not extreme. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Publication title

Forest Ecology and Management










School of Natural Sciences


Elsevier BV

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Socio-economic Objectives

Hardwood plantations

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