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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Establishment and Early Growth of Willow at Different Levels of Weed Competition and Nitrogen Fertilization

Edelfeldt, Stina; Lundkvist, Anneli; Forkman, Johannes; Verwijst, Theo

Abstract

To evaluate the effects of weed competition and nitrogen fertilization on the early growth performance of willow, cuttings of the clone Tora (Salix schwerinii x S. viminalis) were planted in buckets together with model weeds (spring barley or white mustard) sown 15, 26, and 30 days after willow planting. The buckets were fertilized with 30 or 90 kg N ha(-1). Willow with weeds sown after 15 days produced less biomass and smaller leaf area and had a lower maximum shoot height compared to willow planted without weeds and willow with weeds sown after 26 or 30 days. Fertilization with 90 kg N ha(-1) gave higher willow biomass production in willow with weeds sown after 26 or 30 days. Type of model weed had no effect on willow performance. Weed biomass and maximum shoot height were higher in weeds planted without willows compared to the willow-weed mixtures. A high nitrogen level gave more weed biomass when planted without willows and in the willow-weed mixture with weeds sown after 15 days. We conclude that for the given high density of willow, competition from weeds emerging soon after willow planting had strong effect on early production. Furthermore, if there is a risk of weed infestation, fertilization should be delayed.

Keywords

Canopy cover; Cuttings; Leaf area; Salix; Short rotation coppice; Weeding

Published in

BioEnergy Research
2016, Volume: 9, number: 3, pages: 763–772