Chapter 14: Plant Physiology and Nursery Environment - Interactions Affecting Seedling Growth
Environmental factors (such as light, moisture, nutrients, density, and temperature) and plant physiological factors (such as carbohydrate reserves, hormone levels, frost hardiness, and dormancy) interact to shape growth and survival of coniferous seedlings in nursery fields and after outplanting. Nursery managers can manipulate moisture, nutrients, and density to achieve desired seedling morphology and vigor. However, the annual growth cycle of perennial plants has evolved in response to environmental pressures. When the environment is modified, as with heavy irrigation in a nursery, to permit growth at a time when natural seedlings are dormant, the ensuing phases of the growth cycle will not be properly synchronized with their environments. Seedlings so cultivated lack vigor after outplanting. Nursery managers should aim at keying their cultivation schedules to both environmental conditions and endogenous seedling physiology to ensure production of high-quality seedlings.
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Author(s): Denis P. Lavender
Publication: Nursery Manuals - Forest Nursery Manual—Bareroot