Importance of soil extractable phosphorus distribution for mature Norway spruce nutrition and productivity

Hadi Manghabati, Wendelin Weis, Axel Göttlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for forest growth. In this study, we assessed the impact of soil extractable phosphorus using two simple extraction methods on nutrition and productivity of Norway spruce in sixteen mature forest stands on different bedrocks and soils in Bavaria, Southern Germany. Representative trees were sampled for needles, twigs, branches, stem bark, and stem wood. Total phosphorus content in the tree parts and soil phosphorus stock extractable with citric acid and sodium bicarbonate up to a soil depth of 80 cm were determined. We found that easily soil extractable phosphorus is a suitable indicator for estimating phosphorus uptake and stand productivity in Norway spruce. In contrast, organic layer phosphorus showed no significant correlation with aboveground biomass phosphorus contents. In the biomass, the highest phosphorus contents were measured in young needles and twigs, but the highest correlation with soil phosphorus was detected for phosphorus contents in needles and bark. The stock of phosphorus extracted by citric acid down to 40 cm soil depth revealed the best correlation with phosphorus in needles and bark. Therefore, as a supplemental or alternative method to needle analysis, our study suggests the use of phosphorus contents in stem bark to evaluate tree phosphorus nutrition. These results highlight the suitability of the citric acid soil extraction method to characterize plant available phosphorus in Norway spruce ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-642
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Forest Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Aboveground biomass
  • Extraction methods
  • Forest soil
  • Norway spruce
  • Phosphorus nutrition
  • Stand specification


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