Short-term and long-term effects of weed control and fertilization on growth and wood anatomy of a Populus deltoides clone
Aims of study: The short- and long-term effects of weed control and fertilization on growth and wood anatomy of 10-y-old Populus deltoides were investigated. Weed control and fertilization usually leads to an increase the growth rate of trees, and consequently, a possible modification in the quality of produced wood. Area of study: We analyzed trees from an experimental plantation in Buenos Aires, Argentina (34°50’ S Lat; 60°30’ W Long). Methods: 32 trees from three treatments: mechanical weed control (M), chemical and mechanical weed control (CHM) and fertilized plus chemical and mechanical weed control (CHM-F) were analyzed. Basal area, fibre morphology, cell wall area and vessel size were measured in the growth ring 1, 3 and 10. Results: differences on wood anatomy among treatments were mainly observed at the third year (short-term effect). Long-term negative effects were not observed. Fertilized trees had greater proportion and quality of wood closer to pith. Research highlights: fibre and vessel differences seen in CHM and CHM-F compared to controls in year 3 could be interpreted as evidence of maturation in cambial development (thicker, longer and wider fibres and greater vessels). The CHM-F treatment had a greater proportion of wood that showed characteristics of more mature wood.