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Kelsey, Pat

Aluminum Effects on Rooting Habits of Sugar Maple & On the Nutrient Balance of Sugar Maple, Red Maple, & Red Oak Growth in Sand Culture

Date created
The Master of Science degree thesis written by former Arboretum employee, Patrick Kelsey. The thesis was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.
Appeared In
TMA Records Box 109
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) seedlings and saplings are sparsely represented in many long-undisturbed mesic forest stands in northern Illinois despite propagule abundance. Earlier soil studies and root observations had suggested that aluminum concentrations in the BE horizon might be toxic to sugar maple seedlings and saplings. Thus, rooting would be confined to the surface horizons and the trees would be candidates for demise during the droughty portions of summer. To investigate the possibility that biocycling or solubilization by white oak forests prevented sugar maple ecesis, field and greenhouse studies into rooting habits and nutrient balances of sugar maple were begun. Root systems of sugar maple saplings from different forest types were evaluated. Nutrient concentrations in various tissues of these plants were also determined. Growth and nutrient responses to applied aluminum were red oak (Quercus rubra L.) in sand cultures. Sugar maple seedlings, when present in the white oak stands, had horizontally splayed root systems that did not extend into the most aluminous horizons. Sugar maple saplings from a white oak stand had fewer fine roots than those from a sugar maple stand. Aluminum treatments in sand culture studies did not induce aluminum toxicity in sugar maple seedlings; however, these treatments did drastically change the nutrient balance of the seedlings of all three species. In sugar maple, foliar P, K. Ca, Mg, B, Mn, and Cu were significantly lower in aluminum-treated cultures. Roots of treated seedlings had lower concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, and Cu.