Nutrient status of bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) following whole-tree harvesting in Upper Michigan

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Mineral nutrient status and biomass production of bracken, Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn, fronds and rhizomes were quantified immediately following a whole-tree harvest in Upper Michigan. Multiple sampling occurred between full leaf expansion and senescence to monitor mineral translocation from the fronds to the rhizomes, as well as differences in bracken mineral content between harvested and unharvested control sites. Bracken rhizomes on the harvested site had significantly higher concentrations of phosphorus, potassium and magnesium than the control site. Frond biomass production was lower on the harvested site, while rhizome biomass production showed no differences between sites. Rhizome P contents were significantly higher on the harvested site. Translocation of mineral elements from the fronds to the rhizomes during senescence was monitored. Nitrogen, P, and K were readily translocated, while Mg and calcium were not. The larger amounts of nutrients present in the rhizomes on the harvested site suggest increased nutrient uptake and, therefore, nutrient conservation by bracken may occur on a harvested site. © 1991.

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Forest Ecology and Management