Journal Article

Retranslocation of foliar nutrients in evergreen tree species planted in a Mediterranean environment

D. N. Fife, E. K. S. Nambiar and E. Saur

in Tree Physiology

Volume 28, issue 2, pages 187-196
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Retranslocation of foliar nutrients in evergreen tree species planted in a Mediterranean environment

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Internal nutrient recycling through retranslocation (resorption) is important for meeting the nutrient demands of new tissue production in trees. We conducted a comparative study of nutrient retranslocation from leaves of five tree species from three genera grown in plantation forests for commercial or environmental purposes in southern Australia—Acacia mearnsii De Wild., Eucalyptus globulus Labill., E. fraxinoides H. Deane & Maiden, E. grandis W. Hill ex Maiden and Pinus radiata D. Don. Significant amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were retranslocated during three phases of leaf life. In the first phase, retranslocation occurred from young leaves beginning 6 months after leaf initiation, even when leaves were physiologically most active. In the second phase, retranslocation occurred from mature green leaves during their second year, and in the third phase, retranslocation occurred during senescence before leaf fall. Nutrient retranslocation occurred mainly in response to new shoot production. The pattern of retranslocation was remarkably similar in the leaves of all study species (and in the phyllodes of Casuarina glauca Sieber ex Spreng.), despite their diverse genetics, leaf forms and growth rates. There was no net retranslocation of calcium in any of the species. The amounts of nutrients at the start of each pre-retranslocation phase had a strong positive relationship with the amounts subsequently retranslocated, and all species fitted a common relationship. The percentage reduction in concentration or content (retranslocation efficiency) at a particular growth phase is subject to many variables, even within a species, and is therefore not a meaningful measure of interspecific variation. It is proposed that the pattern of retranslocation and its governing factors are similar among species in the absence of interspecies competition for growth and crown structure which occurs in mixed species stands.

Keywords: Acacia; Eucalyptus; interspecies variation; pine

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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