Fertilization has little effect on light-interception efficiency of Picea abies shoots.
We investigated effects of nutrient availability on shoot structure and light-interception efficiency based on data from control (C) and irrigated + fertilized (IL) trees of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). The sampling of 1-year-old shoots was designed to cover the variation in canopy exposure within the live crown zone, where current-year shoots were still found. Canopy openness was used as a measure of light availability at the shoot's position. Openness values for the sample shoots ranged from 0.02 to 0.77 on the IL plot, and from 0.10 to 0.96 on the C plot. Among needle dimensions, needle width increased most with canopy openness. At fixed canopy openness, needle width was larger, and the ratio of needle thickness to width was smaller in IL trees than in C trees. Specific needle area (SNA) and the ratio of shoot silhouette area to total needle area (STAR) decreased with canopy openness, so that the combined effect was a threefold decrease in the ratio of shoot silhouette area to unit dry mass (SMR = STAR x SNA) along the studied range of openness values. This means that the light-interception efficiency of shoots per unit needle dry mass was three times higher for the most shaded shoots than for sun shoots. A test of the effect of fertilization on the relationships of SNA, STAR and SMR indicated statistically significant differences in both slope and intercept for SNA and STAR, and in the intercept for SMR. However, the differences partly cancelled each other so that, at medium values of canopy openness, differences between treatments in predicted SNA, STAR and SMR were small. At 0.5 canopy openness, predicted STAR of IL shoots was 6.1% larger than STAR of C shoots, but SMR of IL shoots was 10% smaller than that of C shoots. The results suggest that light-interception efficiency per unit needle area or mass of the shoots is not greatly affected by fertilization.
Palmroth, S; Stenberg, P; Smolander, S; Voipio, P; Smolander, H
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