Soil nutrient plan to boost tree growth
A WASTE PRODUCT FROM THE manufacture of Urea fertiliser could be highly effective in providing nutrients to boost plantation tree growth.
In a presentation to the Forest Growers Research conference in Christchurch, Scion researchers Simeon Smaill and Graham Coker, along with Steve Gatenby of Timberlands, outlined how bio-stimulation trials with a product called Biuret carried out since 2015 have been producing startling results.
Researchers have been searching for ways to deliver more nutrients and other useful substances to trees, particularly out in the forest. This involved testing various bio-stimulation and foliar spray treatments.
Biuret was selected because 40% of its make-up is nitrogen, which promotes plant growth, but it is toxic to most vegetation, with the exception of trees like Radiata Pine.
To find out how much Biuret would be required to deliver optimum growth rate, researchers conducted trials at a tree nursery with various levels and saw “massive increase in the ability of the seedlings to acquire nitrogen” – in the order of 250% gains.
Following these trails, the next stage, setting up trails in the forest, is now taking place in southern Kaingaroa.
At the same time, another branch of the research project is looking at ways to apply nutrients via aerial spraying, as trees have a much faster uptake of nitrogen through their foliage. Results of tests to date look promising.