Soil nu­tri­ent plan to boost tree growth

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Growers Research -

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.


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