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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Effects of Planting Position, Seedling Size, and Organic Nitrogen Fertilization on the Establishment of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway Spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) Seedlings

Haggstrom, Bodil; Hajek, Jorgen; Nordin, Annika; Ohlund, Jonas


The forest regeneration phase in Sweden commonly involves mechanical soil preparation followed by the planting of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) or Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) seedlings. The prepared soil offers planting positions with different properties, including reduced damage by pine weevils (Hylobius abietis L.). Nitrogen fertilization can be applied at the time of planting to aid establishment of the seedlings. In this study, we compared the effects of different planting positions, organic nitrogen fertilization, and different seedling sizes on the early survival and growth of Scots pine and Norway spruce seedlings. The main planting positions were capped mound, hinge, and mineral soil. Seedlings planted close to organic material were categorized as being in "low-quality positions", since proximity to organic material increases pine weevil attraction. Higher mortality rates related to pine weevil damage were recorded for the seedlings planted in the low-quality positions, regardless of seedling size or N fertilization. Pine weevil attack rates increased with increasing seedling size. Growth was, in general, lowest in the mineral soil positions. The effect of organic N fertilization on growth was positive for the spruce regardless of the planting position or seedling size, while it depended on the planting position and seedling size for the pine, indicating that the effects of organic N fertilization depend on the seedling species, seedling size, and planting position.


Norway spruce; Scots pine; forest regeneration; organic N fertilization; seedling size; planting position; pine weevil

Published in

2024, Volume: 15, number: 4, article number: 703
Publisher: MDPI