New Forests

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Aboveground biomass, transpiration and water use efficiency in eucalypt plantation fertilized with KCl, NaCl and phonolite rock powder

  • Fábio Henrique S. F. de ToledoEmail author
  • José Leonardo de Moraes Gonçalves
  • Yesid Alejandro Mariño
  • Alexandre de Vicente Ferraz
  • Eric Victor de Oliveira Ferreira
  • Gabriela Gonçalves Moreira
  • Rodrigo Hakamada
  • José Carlos de Arthur Júnior


Potassium has important physiological functions in eucalypt plantations, increasing their productivity when applied to soil via mineral fertilizers. There is interest in identifying alternative sources to KCl owing to its high cost and limited reserves. The aim of the study was to test the effect of replacing KCl with NaCl and phonolite rock powder. Two comparisons were made: (1) application of 283 kg ha−1 of KCl compared with that of 2125 kg ha−1 of phonolite rock powder (equivalent to 170 kg ha−1 of K2O in both treatments); (2) application of 139 kg ha−1 of NaCl compared with that of 183 kg ha−1 of KCl (equivalent to 2.33 kmol Na and K, respectively). Radial growth, soil water content, leaf water potential (Ψ), accumulated transpiration, stem volume and biomass increment, as well as water use efficiency (WUE) were evaluated. In the first comparison, both fertilizations presented equal values for all characteristics evaluated. In the second, the accumulated transpiration in trees fertilized with KCl was 17% higher than that in plants fertilized with NaCl. In contrast, the WUE was 20% higher in the trees fertilized with NaCl than in those fertilized with KCl, reflecting the lower water consumption for the same increment in stem volume and biomass. We conclude that phonolite rock powder and NaCl are possible substitutes for conventional K fertilization performed with KCl.


Potassium Beneficial element Rocks for crops Ecophysiology Transpiration 



The authors would like to acknowledge CAPES and FAPESP for funding the project through scholarships and to CNPq for project financing (No. 406809/2016-0) and postdoctoral scholarship (No. 150505/2014-0). We are also grateful for the financing of part of the project by Mineração Curimbaba S.A., for permission to conduct research in the study area and logistical support of International Paper, and for the technical and administrative support of the Forest Science and Research Institute (IPEF). The first author thanks Cindy Prescott and Robert Guy for their hospitality and academic discussions during the author’s study-exchange stay at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada (CAPES-BEX6286/15-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fábio Henrique S. F. de Toledo
    • 1
    Email author
  • José Leonardo de Moraes Gonçalves
    • 2
  • Yesid Alejandro Mariño
    • 2
  • Alexandre de Vicente Ferraz
    • 3
  • Eric Victor de Oliveira Ferreira
    • 4
  • Gabriela Gonçalves Moreira
    • 2
  • Rodrigo Hakamada
    • 5
  • José Carlos de Arthur Júnior
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Forest ScienceFederal University of LavrasLavrasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Forest ScienceUniversity of São PauloPiracicabaBrazil
  3. 3.Forest Science and Research InstitutePiracicabaBrazil
  4. 4.Federal Rural University of AmazoniaCapitão PoçoBrazil
  5. 5.Department of Forest ScienceFederal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  6. 6.Forest InstituteFederal Rural University of Rio de JaneiroSeropédicaBrazil

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