N, P and K Fertilizers Alter Plant Growth, Essential Oil Yield and Gender of Sweet Gale (Myrica gale L)

Xianmin Chang, Peter Martin

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To investigate whether the fertilizers N, P or K individually affect plant growth, oil content and the gender of sweet gale, two trials, pot and field trials, were carried out at Orkney College UHI in Scotland. A pot trial was established with eight soils which were collected from different sweet gale trial sites in the north of Scotland. Although neither shoot yield nor oil concentration in shoots was affected by soil, there were significant differences in shoot yields as a result of fertilizer treatments (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) or none (control)). The best yield was obtained from the N treatment which was double to that of the control and P treatments. N, P or K fertilizers did not consistently affect shoot oil concentration in two seasons; however, oil yield was significantly affected, and N treatment produced two-three fold oil yield increases compared with the control or P treatment. In the N treatment, the increase in shoot yield was positively correlated with total nitrogen or nitrate nitrogen in the soil, suggesting the occurrence of a nitrogen priming effect. Data suggested that as shoot yield increased the oil concentration in shoots decreased. Neither soil nor N, P or K fertilizers had a significant effect on oil composition. Amongst fertilizer treatments, P resulted in the largest number of plants changing gender from female to male. A field N trial confirmed that nitrogen significantly enhanced the shoot yield of young plants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages8
JournalThe Open Plant Science Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2014


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