Chapter 6: Physical Properties of Forest-Nursery Soils - Relation to Seedling Growth
The physical properties desirable in forest-nursery soils are those that provide the optimum environment for root growth and function. Because these properties are difficult to alter, they should be used to determine which sites are chosen for forest nurseries. Solid grains, about half the soil volume, provide the framework for stable soil pores and an anchor for plant roots. The large pores, about half the pore space, allow for necessary gas exchange; the small pores store water for plant use. Soil cultivation and drainage change the relative proportions of solids and pores. Tillage can improve soil tilth, but excess tillage usually results in undesirable changes in the soil. Soil organic matter content is important to tilth as well as to stability of structure. Soil compaction, including crusting, represents a special problem, which can be both caused and ameliorated by tillage. Increased soil resistance to compaction and adequate organic matter maintenance should be major objectives in nursery soil management for Northwest forest nurseries.
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Author(s): B. P. Warkentin
Publication: Nursery Manuals - Forest Nursery Manual—Bareroot