Potassium fertilization enhances xylem plasticity and growth recovery of Eucalyptus grandis trees in response to drastic changes in water availability - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Forest Ecology and Management Year : 2023

Potassium fertilization enhances xylem plasticity and growth recovery of Eucalyptus grandis trees in response to drastic changes in water availability

Abstract

Most Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil are located in regions currently experiencing periods of water shortage, where fertilizers such as potassium (K) are intensively used to achieve high productivity. In a changing envi-ronment, improving our understanding of the effects of K nutrition on tree growth rates and xylem plasticity across tree ages as a function of climate is crucial for forest management. The objective of this study was to gain insight into the interactive effects of K fertilization, water availability, and tree age on stem growth and changes in xylem traits of E. grandis trees over a full rotation. Changes in growth and xylem traits in response to a severe drought that occurred in 2014 were also studied. An experimental plantation of E. grandis trees was established in Sa similar to o Paulo, Brazil and monitored over a full 6-year rotation period. The experiment consisted of a split-plot design with two water supply regimes (37 % throughfall reduction vs undisturbed throughfall) and two fertilization regimes (K supply vs control). Basal area increment (BAI) was monitored using band dendrometers at 14-day intervals from 1 to 6 years after planting. Xylem traits including wood density (WD), cell wall fraction (CWF), cell density (CDen), theoretical xylem specific hydraulic conductivity (Kst), vessel diameter (VD), vessel density (VDen), vessel area (VA), and the vulnerability index (VI) were measured in 6-month periods (rainy and dry seasons) throughout the rotation. K fertilization increased BAI by a factor of 3 in plots where throughfall was not disturbed but led to an interruption of tree growth during the severe drought in 2014. The growth patterns showed a positive effect of K for growth recovery following drought. Throughfall reduction affected growth only in K-fertilized trees and up to 30 months of age. K fertilization also increased changes in xylem traits in response to drought in E. grandis trees. The main changes occurred in vessel traits, with a 53 % decrease in Kst during the drought but recovery was rapid after the first rainfall events. High plasticity was also observed for WD, CWF, CDen, and VI.
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Dates and versions

hal-03948817 , version 1 (20-01-2023)

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Roger Chambi-Legoas, Mario Tomazello-Filho, Jean-Paul Laclau, Gilles Chaix. Potassium fertilization enhances xylem plasticity and growth recovery of Eucalyptus grandis trees in response to drastic changes in water availability. Forest Ecology and Management, 2023, 528, pp.120656. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120656⟩. ⟨hal-03948817⟩
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