Growth and nutrient efficiency of Betula alnoides clones in response to phosphorus supply
As phosphorus deficiency limits the productivity of many plantation forests in Asia, there is considerable interest in developing phosphorus-efficient clones for the region through targeted breeding programs. Therefore, we determined growth, nutrient concentrations and nutrient absorption and utility efficiencies of four Betula alnoides clones (C5, C6, 1-202 and BY1) in response to six phosphorus levels of 0, 17, 52, 70, 140 and 209 mg P plant-1 coded as P1 to P6, respectively. Maximum growth occurred in the P4, P5 and P6 plants since they had the largest height, biomass, leaf area and branch number. Phosphorus application increased the phosphorus concentrations of all clones. Nutrient loading was achieved with the P6 treatment because growth and biomass were not significantly higher, but root, stem and leaf phosphorus concentrations were approximately twice those of P4 plants. Clone BY1 had the highest phosphorus-efficiency, and is recommended for field application due to its maximum root collar diameter, biomass, root/shoot ratio, leaf area, nutrient absorption and utility efficiency among the four clones. The findings will help to improve the nutrient efficiency of this species in plantation forestry in Asia.