Response of Pinus radiata D. Don to Boron Fertilization in a Glasshouse Study

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Journal Article
Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 2012, 43 (10), pp. 1412 - 1426
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Limited information is available on the effect of slow-release boron (B) fertilizer on Pinus radiata growth and physiological properties and soil microbiological activities. A 7-month-long pot experiment was carried out under glasshouse conditions to investigate the response of Pinus radiata to different rates (0.0222, 0.0446, 0.089, and 0.178 mg B g-1 soil), equivalent to 0, 4, 8 16, and 32 kg B ha-1 of ulexite, a slow-release B fertilizer. Hot 0.02 M calcium chloride (CaCl2)-extractable soil B, soil dehydrogenase activity, plant B concentration, growth, and photosynthesis were measured at the time of harvest. The B concentrations in the soil and plant organs (needles, stem, and roots) significantly increased with increasing rates of B fertilizer. The optimum B fertilizer rates of 4-8 kg B ha-1 produced the greatest plant growth and net photosynthetic rate. However, the B rates of 16 and 32 kg B ha-1 significantly reduced net photosynthetic rate, and the rate of 32 kg B ha-1 significantly reduced stem diameter growth when compared to the optimum B rates. Soil dehydrogenase activity, an indicator of soil microbiological activities, was significantly reduced by B application at the rates of 16 and 32 kg ha-1. This study confirms the narrow range between B deficiency and toxicity in a tree crop and stresses the need for selection of the optimum rate of B fertilizer application. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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