Correction of Al toxicity with European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) growing on acid soils by fertilization with Ca and Mg carbonate and sulfate in pot experiments

G. Weber-Blaschke, K. E. Rehfuess

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7 Scopus citations


Two different factorial pot experiments with ash seedlings were carried out for two different growing seasons in order to find out how toxic effects of Al occurring on an acidic phyllite-derived loamy soil can be counteracted by fertilization with Ca and Mg as carbonate or sulfate. The N and K nutrition of all experimental plants was ensured by uniform fertilization with both elements at the beginning of and during the trials. The P deficiency evident in the first season in spite of P fertilization could only be remedied during the second year with an additional heavy P application. The combined fertilization with Ca and Mg carbonate increased the Ca and Mg concentrations in the soil solution, improved the nutritional status of the trees with Ca and Mg, prevented root damage and accelerated the shoot and root growth to high levels as a consequence of an adequate supply of both elements and of pH increase. After the application of Ca carbonate alone, growth of the plants was very low in spite of the high pH value due to extreme Mg (P) deficiency. Treating the ash with low amounts of Mg carbonate/hydroxide had no effect on the pH and the Al concentration in the soil solution. Therefore, the plants suffered from visible root damage and died, probably as a consequence of severe Ca (P) deficiency in combination with Al toxicity. The combined application of Ca and Mg sulfate achieved only a minor acceleration of growth, but prevented the occurrence of morphologically perceptible root damage. Whereas Mg nutrition improved, the foliar Ca levels decreased. The Ca sulfate treated plants grew like the seedlings from the Ca Mg sulfate treatments, but showed additional Mg deficiency. Plants of the Mg sulfate treatments died early like plants fertilized only with Mg carbonate, and their death was presumably induced by Ca deficiency and toxic effects of Al on roots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2002


  • Al toxicity
  • Ash
  • Ca and Mg nutrition
  • Fertilization
  • Fraxinus excelsior L.
  • Pot experiments


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