The paper presents research on influence of nursery soil compaction, composed of peat (90%) and perlite (10%), on the growth of seedlings of Pinus sylvestris grown in containers. Polyethylene nursery are containers used for the seedling production. These containers were filled with three different densities of the peat and perlite substrate (0.3, 0.5 and 0.7 g·cm-3). During the experiment, nursery containers were initially placed in a plastic tent for a period of two months, and then for three months further months in an open nursery field. Growth measurements for individual plants were the length of shoots and the root system, root collar diameter, root and shoot dry weight and photosynthetic rate. There was a relationship between the extent of compaction of the soil substrate and all analyzed growth parameters of seedlings. A more compact substrate adversely affected on the number of grown seedlings and their length but positively influenced the dry mass of pine seedlings.
For the period from the 1st of May to the 30th of October 2014, the water balance for Scots pine, Norway spruce, Pedunculate oak and European beech seedlings in a plantation setting was analysed. The experiment was conducted at the container nursery in the Rudy Raciborskie Forest District, Poland. Water was supplied by natural rainfall as well as a by small-droplet irrigation system and two automatic weather stations combined with 32 rain collectors were used to monitor rainfall throughout this research. Rain gauges were located 25 cm above the metal pallets and 10 cm below the nursery containers. An average of 987 mm∙m−2 of water reached the plantation, of which 53% were provided by the irrigation system. Most water was supplied to the oak field, whereas least was given to the spruce plantations and the irrigation water amounted to 535 liters and 422 liters per square meter, respectively. The amount of water percolating through the substrate was approximately 50–65%, depending on the tree species. An average sum of evapotranspiration at the container nursery was estimated to amount to 520 mm∙m−2 during the growth season leading to a total water balance of +463 mm.
This study explores the use of fully automatic monitoring system of peat moss substrate moisture under pine seedlings at Rudy Raciborskie forest nursery in the Silesian Upland. A brand new multipoint system for this study was created. The multichannel electronic recorder MPI-DN Metronic was the main part of the project. Twelve HD3910.2 probes (three electrodes) for volumetric water content measurement were used in a distributed configuration. Modbus RTU protocols were used for data transmission and the results were archived into an internal memory. One probe delivers 1440 measurements a day. Based on the average substrate moisture data from the field, the recorder controls the watering system according to the precisely defined parameters. Proper placement of sensors in the field allows for accurate analysis of the temporal and spatial variability of peat moss substrate moisture. Results of the statistical analysis have confirmed that the peat moss moisture is significantly differentiated within the homogeneous production field of the forest seedlings. The study findings suggest that irrigation systems should be adapted to specific situation of substrate moisture at the nursery surfaces aimed at optimised water management.