Behaviour of Young Trees Cultivated on Peats With Different Degrees of Decomposition

Bill Carlile, Dearbhail NiChualain, Costantino Cattivello

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress


buffering-capacity, electrical-conductivity, peat-quality, salts, sapling-growth

Carlile et al 2012: Behaviour of Young Trees Cultivated on Peats With Different Degrees of Decomposition


Theme II. Peat for horticulture, energy and other uses


In Italy, the production of tree seedlings from cuttings is achieved by rooting into media that may contain mixtures of peats and other substrates. Often water of high salinity status may be used to irrigate rooted cuttings during the early growth phase prior to potting on.
The aim of this experiment was to investigate the effects of peats of different degrees of decomposition, on growth of two tree species: Fraxinus ornus (ash) and Ulmus pumila (elm), irrigated with water containing different amounts of salts.
Trials were carried out using two peats: a less decomposed peat of Northern European origin (H2-H3) in comparison with a more decomposed peat originating from the Republic of Ireland (H4-H5). These media, were used pure or in mixture (25/75, 50/50 and 75/25 v/v). Species and substrates were irrigated with tap water (0,3 mS/m) and tap water with NaCl (3 mS/m). Data on most important morphological and quality parameters of plant growth were collected at the end of the experiments.
Differences in plant quality became evident during the trial period of six months. As the proportion of humified peat increased in mixtures, plant quality improved with both species, particularly in terms of leaf colour. This difference was evident in both low salinity and high salinity irrigation regimes.