Ash-fertilisation – a successful way to accelerate establishment and growth of birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) stands on cut-away peatlands

Noora Huotari and Eila Tillman-Sutela

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Peatland Forestry

afforestation, peat-ash, recycling, vegetation-cover, wood-ash

Huotari et al. 2008: Ash-fertilisation – a successful way to accelerate establishment


We studied the effect of fertilisation on the establishment of vegetation including birch seedlings on a cut-away peatland. Six treatments of wood-ash, peat-ash, biotite or PK-fertiliser were replicated in three plots using different mixtures and quantities. Immediate colonisation of fire-loving mosses followed by herbal species ensured full vegetation coverage on ash-fertilised plots. The amounts of birch seedlings were 2-fold on the ash- fertilised compared to the PK-fertilised areas, whereas the unfertilised plots remained non-vegetated. Birch seedlings were four times higher on ash-fertilised than on unfertilised plots already after the first growing season. Consequently, our results support the recycling of ash-based fertilisers for the afforestation of cut-away peatlands.