Fertilising eucalypts at plantation establishment on farmland in south-west Western Australia

P. Ritson, N. E. Pettit, J. F. McGrath

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Responses of Eucalyptus species planted on farmland in the south-west of Western Australia to nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilisation were investigated over two and three year periods. Factorial combinations of N (0, 6, 17 and 34 g per seedling) and P (0, 5, 12 and 24 g per seedling) in mostly water soluble (quick release) compounds were applied within a month of planting. On well drained soils growth of E. globulus exceeded that of E sideroxylon and E. microcarpa by a considerable margin. After three years there were significant (p < 0.05) growth responses by E. sideroxylon to N and P and by E. globulus to P only. In contrast, the third species planted in that experiment (E. microcarpa) showed no significant growth response to N or P. The growth response of E. sideroxylon to a combination of the maximum levels of N and P represented improvements (compared to no fertiliser) of 69% in tree height and 265% in crown volume index. For E. globulus the improvements with each level of P > 0 g were consistently around 14% in tree height and 29% in crown volume index. Improvements in basal area and stem volume index increased with each level of P tested from 13% (5 g P) to 42% (24 g P) in the case of basal area and from 40% (5 g P) to 58% (24 g P) in the case of stem volume index. On poorly drained soils the only significant effect of fertilisaer treatment two years after the planting on the species tested (E camaldulensis, E cornuta and E. woollsiana) was that increasing N level increased seedling mortality. Average mortality rate for the three species increased from 20% (0 g N) to 30% (34 g N). In other experiments, also with three species on both well drained and poorly drained soils, fertiliser rates were kept constant at 18 g P and 8 g P per seedling but the form and timing of fertiliser application was varied. However, it made no significant difference to survival or growth rates of any species whether the fertiliser was applied in granular or tablet form, at planting time or one month after planting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Forestry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


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