SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.7 número33Clasificación y ordenación de bosques de pino piñonero del estado de QuerétaroDiversidad y estructura arbórea de dos rodales en Pueblo Nuevo, Durango índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
Home Pagelista alfabética de revistas  

Servicios Personalizados




Links relacionados

  • No hay artículos similaresSimilares en SciELO


Revista mexicana de ciencias forestales

versión impresa ISSN 2007-1132

Rev. mex. de cienc. forestales vol.7 no.33 México ene./feb. 2016



Plant quality of two pine species at nursery stage in a Double- Transplanting system

Rosario Marilú Bernaola Paucar1 

Juan Francisco Zamora Natera1 

José de Jesús Vargas Radillo2 

Víctor Manuel Cetina Alcalá3 

Ramón Rodríguez Macías1 

Eduardo Salcedo Pérez2 

1Departamento de Botánica y Zoología, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad de Guadalajara, México.

2Departamento de Madera, Celulosa y Papel, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Exactas e Ingeniería, Universidad de Guadalajara, México. Correo-e:

3Programa Forestal, Colegio de Postgraduados. Campus Montecillo, México.


The objective of this research was to assess the quality of the plants produced using the Double-Transplanting system, with different container volumes and fertilizers, for two conifer species -Pinus douglasiana and Pinus devoniana-, whose characteristics and quality indices in the nursery may allow the estimation of the success of their survival in field. 500 plants of each species, aged 12 months (125 plants per treatment) were selected. The plants were produced in polystyrene trays with a volume of 0.165 L per cavity; they were transplanted and kept in 1 and 5 L containers during five months, and were subjected to two different fertilization routines (with and without fertilizer). A block random design with a 22 factorial arrangement and four treatments per taxon was applied. The container volume had a positive effect on the growth variables in both taxa; however, only Pinus devoniana registered a positive response to added fertilizers. The N, Fe, Cu, Ca and Mn foliar contents showed a relationship with growth in the two studied pine species. In order to predict the survival rate in field, Dickson's index (QI) turned out to be the best quality indicator for P. douglasiana, while for P. devoniana it was the root container index (ICR). For this reason, and because it is easy to use, we propose the ICR as a practical method to determine the quality of the plant in the nursery.

Keywords: Pinus douglasiana Martínez; Pinus devoniana Lindl.; plant quality index; root container index; forest nursery; container volume


El objetivo de esta investigación fue evaluar la calidad de planta producida en el sistema de Doble-Trasplante, con diferente volumen de contenedor y fertilización, en dos coníferas: Pinus douglasiana y Pinus devoniana, cuyas características e índices de calidad en vivero permitan estimar el éxito de su supervivencia en campo. Se seleccionaron 500 plantas por especie de 12 meses de edad (125 por tratamiento), producidas en charolas de poliestireno con un volumen por cavidad de 0.165 L., las cuales se trasplantaron y mantuvieron durante cinco meses en los contenedores de 1 y 5 L y con dos rutinas de fertilización (con y sin fertilizante). Se aplicó un diseño en bloques completamente al azar, con arreglo factorial 22 con cuatro tratamientos por taxon. El volumen del contenedor, en ambos taxa, tuvo un efecto positivo en las variables de crecimiento; sin embargo, solo Pinus devoniana registró una respuesta positiva a la fertilización adicional. Los contenidos foliares de N, Fe, Cu, Ca y Mn presentaron una relación con el crecimiento en los dos pinos bajo estudio. Para predecir el porcentaje de supervivencia en campo, el índice de Dickson (IQ) resultó ser el mejor indicador de calidad para P. douglasiana, mientras que para P. devoniana fue el índice de contenedor raíz (ICR). Por lo anterior, y por su facilidad de uso, el ICR se propone como un método práctico para determinar la calidad de planta en vivero.

Palabras clave: Pinus douglasiana Martínez; Pinus devoniana Lindl.; índice de calidad de planta; vivero forestal; índice contenedor de raíz; volumen de contenedor


Pinus douglasiana Martínez and Pinus devoniana Lindl. are highly important native species and are among the 10 species most widely utilized in reforestation programs for purposes of restoration or production in Mexico. Their study makes it possible to understand the manner in which each of them responds to management conditions, based on their different growth habits; the growth habit of P. douglasiana is rapid, whereas that of P. devoniana is cespitose (Eguiluz, 1982; Fiprodefo, 2006).

In forest nurseries, irrigation management, fertilizer application and shading are not the only factors that exert a significant influence on plant characteristics and quality: the type and size of the container also have an impact on plant production (Landis et al., 1990). In theory, it is possible to determine the ideal container for obtaining an optimal plant; however, increasing the volume of the container involves increasing the costs of the process (Altamash et al., 2009; Salcedo et al., 2012).

Recent studies have shown that when containers with a capacity above 90 cm3 are utilized, the plant roots acquire more volume and length, resulting in a higher survival rate in field (Landis et al., 1990; Landis et al., 2010). For example, Bernaola (2012) documented values of 94 % for Pinus hartwegii L. with the use of 5 L containers in a double-transplanting system two years after the plants had been established in field. Furthermore, she has stated that the cost-benefit ratio is viable (the cost of production per unit in the nursery is sixteen pesos), and that more tangible and intangible benefits will be obtained from the plantation in the long term.

For their part, Domínguez-Larena et al. (2006) recorded a positive relationship between container size and growth in Pinus pinea L. eight months after planting, as 0.3 and 0.4 L containers produced taller seedlings (20.9 to 21.3 cm) with a larger diameter (3.5 to 3.83 mm) and a survival rate ranging between 90 and 91.7 % three years after established in field. Nevertheless, when the production of P. radiata D. Don was evaluated eight months after germination in 0.2, 0.26 and 0.27 L containers, Ortega et al. (2006) did not determine significant differences in height, diameter or biomass. Aphalo and Rikala (2003) point out that, under nursery conditions, not only the container size and volume (0.19 and 0.3 L) but also the density of the plant per surface unit (306, 190 and 54 per m2) also influence the development of Betula pendula Roth plants, probably due to competition for light between individuals, reflected in the field. In this regard, during the first year the aerial / root dry biomass ratio was positively influenced (0.69) by the combined effect of a higher volume and lower density in the nursery. South et al., 2004 cite similar findings in their evaluation of Pinus palustris Mill.

Another factor which has an impact on the growth and development of the plant is nutrition; in this sense, nitrogen is the most relevant element. In fact, the formulations used in fertilization programs are based on this element or on the relationships between macronutrients (Landis et al., 1989). However, nutritional needs usually depend on the genotype and on the development stage of the plant; for this reason, fertilization must respond to specific requirements of the plant. Foliar analyses are a tool that allows defining them more accurately; so are the response to each dose and the efficiency of the utilized fertilization program (Birchler et al., 1998; Alcántar et al., 2012). Jeong et al. (2010) document significant differences in diameter (4.5 mm), height (19 cm), dry mass (4.5 g) and nutritional content (total nitrogen) in Pinus densiflora Siebold & Zucc. and Pinus thunbergii Parl. plants as an effect of the container volume (0.25, 0.35 and 0.5 L) and of foliar fertilization (Planta Products® 20N:20P2O5:20K2O). However, individuals without fertilization showed no significant differences in growth, which suggests that the availability of nutrients is one of the limiting factors for the development of both species.

In a Double-Transplanting system proposed by Salcedo et al. (2012), based on the transfer of the plant produced in a tray to individual containers with a larger volume, an increase in aerial and radical biomasses was registered. Although the costs of production increased, better success in the survival of the plants was ensured (Hahn, 1990; Ritchie, 2003).

The growth of forest plants has clearly been shown to be affected by the volume of the container and the application of fertilizers, but little is known about the individual behavior between Pinus species (Jeong et al., 2010), as the taxa have their own requirements as a response to their biological diversity and to the different edaphoclimatic conditions in which they develop naturally. The literature includes no studies recording the effect of containers with volumes above 0.5 L or the use of the double-transplanting system in P. douglasiana and P. devoniana. In this sense, the objective of this study was to evaluate the plant quality of these two species in the double-transplanting production system in containers of different capacities and with and without fertilization.

Materials and Methods

Location and characteristics of the study area

The research was carried out in the Valle de Ameca Forest Nursery ("Vivero Forestal Valle de Ameca S. P. R. de R. L."), located at 20°33' N and 104°3' W, at an altitude of 1 235 m, in Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico. The climate is semi-warm subhumid, with summer rains, with a medium humidity, temperatures ranging from 16 to 24 °C, and an annual precipitation of 800 to 1 100 mm (Inegi, 1999). The experiment was performed simultaneously for P. douglasiana and P. devoniana.

The biological material utilized for starting the evaluation consisted of P. douglasiana and P. devoniana plants aged 12 months, produced in polystyrene trays with 60 cavities of 0.165 L each, from the Valle de Ameca forest nursery. The morphological characteristics and foliar mineral content of the plants at the beginning of the experiment (Table 1), were determined at the Laboratorio Forestal of the Departamento de Madera, Celulosa y Papel of the Universidad de Guadalajara and at the Laboratorio de Nutrición Vegetal of the Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Montecillo, respectively. The culture conditions were established in the protocols of the same nursery for the production of these conifers.

Table 1 Morphological characteristics and foliar mineral content of the Pinus douglasiana Martínez and Pinus devoniana Lindl. species at the beginning of the evaluation. 

The value indicated between parentheses corresponds to the standard error of three repetitions; Dg = P. douglasiana; Dv = P. devoniana.

Black polypropylene (1 and 5 L) containers, which have a special design for the development of conifers (semi-conical, with inner vertical ribs and with the base covered only with a gridded mesh), were utilized. The 1 L container has 18 mm thick walls, a length of 18.5 cm, 10.7 cm of higher diameter, and 8.2 cm of lower diameter. The dimensions of the 5 L container are: 152 mm of wall thickness, 45 cm of length, 17.8 cm of higher diameter and 14.5 cm of lower diameter.

The substrate consisted of a mixture of peat moss (30 %), pine bark (70 %) and Multicote™ 24-12-6-(4) (6 kg m-3), and was characterized at the Laboratorio de Física de Suelos y Nutrición Vegetal del Colegio de Postgraduados; the results indicate a total porosity of 89 %, an aeriation porosity of 1 %, a capacity for water retention of 78 %, a particle size (weighted mean diameter) of 2 to 3.36 mm and an apparent density of 0.18 g cm-3. The chemical analysis is shown in Table 2. A broad spectrum fungicide (BUSAN 30 WB, TCMTB-ticino methylthio benzotriazol) was preventively applied in order to avert damage by pathogens.

Table 2 Chemical characterization of the substrate utilized for transplanting into the containers. 

EC = Eletric conductivity; CEC = Cation exchange capacity; OM = Organic matter; TN = Total nitrogen; P= Phosphorus; K= Potassium; Mg= Magnesium; Ca= Calcium; Na = Sodium; Cu= Copper; Fe= Iron; Mn= Manganese.

Experiment establishment and follow-up

The plants of both species produced in trays were transplanted to 1 and 5 L containers; for this purpose, 500 plants per taxon were selected at random. After three days, Raizone-plus rooting powder (40g in 25 L of water) was sprayed with a manual pump. The transplanted plants were kept during one month under a 50 % shade cloth and watered every day in a, even, localized manner. Subsequently, they were transferred to the growth area of the same nursery (out in the open), under the Double-Transplanting system (Salcedo et al., 2012).

After a month, the four treatments were established for each species, considering the effect of the two container sizes (1 and 5 L) and the two fertilization factors (with and without fertilizer). 125 individuals were used for each one. A solution consisting of magnesium nitrate (40 g), calcium nitrate (40 g), monopotassium phosphate (50 g) nitro-potassium (50 g), urea (40 g) and Gro-gree® (20-30-10 + EM) (40 g), dissolved in 25 L water, was added twice a week to the fertilized plants and applied to a surface area of 527 m2. Furthermore, 10 g of Haifa® Multi-micro were administered once a week to each individual. The management of the fertilizers was carried out within the procedures typically used at the nursery.

During the five months of the evaluation, all the plants were manually watered on a daily basis in an even and localized manner until the substrate reached the saturation point (1.16 L sec-1 hour).

Experimental design and treatments

The treatments for each species were distributed in a random experimental block design, with a 22 factorial arrangement, in which factor A represented the container size (1 and 5 L), and factor B, fertilization (with and without fertilizer). Each treatment consisted of three repetitions, with sets of five trees as experimental units (15 plants per treatment). Four treatments for each taxon, classified as follows: Dg1NF (1 L container without fertilizer), DgIF (1 L container with fertilizer), Dg5NF (5 L container without fertilizer) and Dg5F (5 L container with fertilizer), for P. douglasiana, and Dv1NF (1 L container without fertilizer), Dv1F (1 L container with fertilizer), Dv5NF (5 L container without fertilizer) and Dv5F (5 L container with fertilizer), for P. devoniana.

Evaluated variables

The morphological variables and the mineral content of each species were evaluated through a destructive sampling (15 plants per treatment). The plants were retired from the container removing the substrate from the root, and the aerial part was separated from the root. The data were recorded six months after the plants were transplanted. The assessed variables were: height from the stem base to the stem apex (cm), the stem diameter at root collar (mm), as well as aerial and root biomass. The aerial and root volumes (cm3) were determined by the water displacement method (Harrington et al., 1994).

The samples of the aerial and root parts were placed separately in paper bags and dried in a rustic drying chamber at 70 °C during 72 hours, until a constant weight (72 h) was registered. The dry aerial (g) and root (g) weights were determined in an analytical scale (Sartorius, MP6 model). These data were used to estimate: the ratio between the aerial and the root parts, Dickson's quality index and the index of robustness (Dickson, et al., 1960; Thompson,1985). The root container index (ICR) was also determined, and this is an additional contribution of this study. The ICR represents the quotient between the volume of the container (cm3) and the root volume (cm3). It is an indicator that makes it possible to predict the quality of the plant in that container volume and, therefore, the survival rate in field.

The dried and ground needle samples (model SK100 Retsch mill) were used to estimate the foliar mineral content at the Laboratorio de Física de Suelos y Nutrición Vegetal del Colegio de Postgraduados. The semi-microkjedahl method was used for the total nitrogen, with previous acid digestion of the samples, while for phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, boron and molybdenum, a humid digestion was utilized. Subsequently, the extracts were analyzed in a Varian™ Liberty II ICP-AES induction spectrophotometer with coupled plasma (Alcántar and Sandoval, 1999).

Statistical analysis

The data were organized using the Microsoft Office 2007 Excel software package and applying a normalcy test (Chi Square and Shapiro's and Wilk's W statistic). Subsequently, a variance analysis (ANOVA) was carried out following the 22 factorial model, using Statgraphics Centurion XV.II, version 15.2.06. Where differences between treatments (p≤0.05) were observed, means were compared using the Least Significant Difference (LSD) and, finally, a Pearson's correlation.

Results and Discussion

Morphological variables and quality indices for Pinus douglasiana

The variance analysis evidenced significant differences (p≤0.05) in all the variables, except height, as an effect of the container volume (Table 3), while the use of fertilizers significantly affected the aerial volume and both the aerial and root weights. The interaction between the container size and the use of fertilizers was significant only for the aerial volume and root weight variables.

Table 3 P-value of the ANOVA for height, root neck diameter and biomass of Pinus douglasiana Martínez with or without foliar fertilization in two container volumes. 

(*) Significance with a 95.0 % confidence level; gl = Degrees of freedom.

Figure 1 shows the average increases in the morphological variables of plants subjected to the various treatments in relation to the baseline values recorded in Table 1; a clear difference may be observed between the plants in the 1 L and 5 L containers, except for the height. According to the statistical analysis, the Dg5NF had the highest values for aerial volume and aerial and root weight (Table 1). In this sense, Becerra et al. (2013) recorded survival rates of up to 90 % in plants aged 4 years belonging to six forest species and produced in 10 L containers, assessed two years after their establishment in the field.

Dg1NF = 1 L container without fertilizer; Dg1F = 1 L container with fertilizer; Dg5NF = 5 L container without fertilizer); Dg5F = 5 L container with fertilizer. (*) Significant treatment based on ANOVA, n=15, P<0.05.

Figure 1 Increase in the values of morphological values in relation to the baseline values for Pinus douglasiana Martínez. 

Figure 2 shows the value of the quality indices for P. douglasiana. The plants grown in the larger containers showed a significant difference in Dickson's quality index (QI) and in the root container index (ICR); however, just for the QI there were differences in relation to the use of fertilizers, with a higher value in the 5 L treatment without fertilizer (5.03) within the range of the optimal values established by Dickson et al. (1960) and Sáenz et al. (2010).

Treatments: Dg1NF = 1 L container without fertilizer; Dg1F = 1 L container with fertilizer; Dg5NF = 5 L container without fertilizer); Dg5F = 5 L container with fertilizer There are no significant differences between means followed by the same letter (n=15, P<0.05, LSD).

Figure 2 Response to the treatments in terms of the quality indices for Pinus douglasiana Martínez. 

Based on the results obtained, the QI turned out to be the best index for determining the plant quality for P. douglasiana. According to Quiroz et al. (2014), the QI is highly correlated with the root volume, and this, in turn, is related to the container volume. Therefore, an increase in the value of the QI is associated with a better plant quality, as a result of a better balance between the aerial and root biomasses (Reyes et al., 2005, Saénz et al., 2010). In this respect, we may point out that the P. douglasiana plants transplanted from trays to large containers and kept under nursery conditions during six months will have a better development without any need to apply fertilizers, and therefore, will have better survival rates in field.

Nutrient content of Pinus douglasiana

The minerals that showed variation due exclusively to the size of the container were nitrogen, iron, copper and manganese, with a tendency to have a higher content in individuals produced in a 5 L container, except for copper (Table 4); this means that the concentration of nutrients in the needles increases with the volume of the container (Jeong et al., 2010).

Table 4 Nutrient content in dry needle samples of Pinus douglasiana Martínez. 

Dg1NF = 1 L container without fertilizer; Dg1F = 1 L container with fertilizer; Dg5NF = 5 L container without fertilizer; Dg5F = 5 L container with fertilizer There are no significant differences between means followed by the same letter in a column (n=15, P<0.05, LSD). (*) Proposed by Landis et al. (1989).

The results of the analyses (Table 4) show that the container volume also had an effect on the availability and absorption of some nutrients; the treatments were grouped according to container size, according to the values obtained for the 5 L containers, which, except for copper, are within the range of the foliar nutrient content recommended by Landis et al. (1989). In this regard, these elements are considered to be the most important in the photosynthesis and breathing processes (Alcántar et al., 2012); therefore, they are decisive for the fast growing conifer species, as quoted by Nambiar and Sands (1993), who pointed out that this botanical group has a higher growth rate with high nitrogen contents.

The Dg1F treatment registered a higher nitrogen concentration due to the restriction of biomass development by the container. This is because smaller containers restrict plant growth, and therefore reduce the availability of water and nutrients (Domínguez et al., 2006).

Although nutrient content levels were higher in 5 L containers, the effects of the treatment with and without fertilizer (Dg5F and Dg5NF, respectively) were the opposite of those obtained with 1 L containers. This may be because larger spaces allow greater development of root biomass in fast growing species like P. douglasiana, and when these seek to meet their nutritional needs, the addition of fertilizers causes an adverse effect on the absorption of minerals (Rodríguez, 1982). Thus the growth of the morphological variables is affected, as documented by Domínguez et al. (2006), who point out that the increase in the nitrogen input (250 mg L-1, in solution) has a negative impact on root growth and results in a lower number of new roots. For example, according to Aldana and Aguilera (2002), fast growing conifers require the addition of 50 to 75 ppm of nitrogen.

Within this context, the application of 6 kg of fertilizer (Multicote™) to each cubic meter of substrate is sufficient for the production of P. douglasiana in 5 L containers and under the conditions of this study; however, for 1 L containers, additional fertilizers must be applied.

Correlation between the morphological variables and the foliar nutrient content in Pinus douglasiana

The iron concentration in the needles evidenced a positive relation with the tree height (r=0.99*), as this element accelerates the transportation of electrons for the photosynthetic process and is involved in the synthesis of chlorophyll, as well as in the functioning and structure of the chloroplast (Terry and Abadía, 1986; Alcántar et al., 2012).

A positive association was found to exist between manganese and stem diameter (r=0.97*), aerial volume (r=0.99*) and aerial weight (r=0.98*). Although the action mechanisms of this element are not known in detail, we do know that it is involved in ion absorption, photosynthesis, breathing and protein synthesis (Alcántar et al., 2012). Therefore, the results indicate that manganese must be regarded as an essential nutrient for the growth of aerial biomass in Pinus douglasiana plants during the initial stages of their development.

Morphological variables and quality indices in Pinus devoniana

Table 5 shows that all the morphological variables had a significant effect (P<=0.05) as a result of the container size, while the use fertilizers produced significant effects only on the aerial and root volumes. The interaction had no significant effects on any of the variables.

Table 5 P-value of the ANOVA for height, stem diameter and biomass of Pinus devoniana Lindl. with or without foliar fertilizer with two different container volumes. 

(*)Significance with a 95.0 % confidence index; gl = Degrees of freedom.

The information generated agrees with the findings of Domínguez (2006) and Ortega et al. (2006), who registered a greater effect on the performance of plants in the nursery due to the container volume than to the use of fertilizers. According to Jeong et al. (2010), the application of foliar fertilizers had a significant effect on the growth of P. densiflora and P. thunbergii in larger containers; this was reflected on the biomass production. In addition, a larger container volume admittedly allows the development of a larger root volume in conifer species, whereby the absorption of water and nutrients is favored. The trees will therefore have a higher growth potential and a larger biomass production (Landis et al., 1994; NeSmith and Duval, 1998; Cañellas et al., 1999; Hess and De Kroon, 2007; Prieto et al., 2007). South et al. (2004) and Domínguez et al. (2006) mention that container type and size determine the time period during which the plants can be kept in the nursery without the occurrence of any damage such as strangling of the root collar or limited access to water and nutrients, compared to plants grown in larger containers.

Based on this, it may be pointed out that, despite the use of larger containers, the benefits of Double-Transplanting system in economic and operational terms are unquestionable. The results and advantages obtained with it in the long term may render it an attractive alternative for establishing reforestations in sites with special or adverse edaphoclimatic conditions (Salcedo et al., 2012).

Figure 3 shows that the treatments with fertilizers in both container sizes produced greater increases in most variables, unlike treatments without fertilizers -which is the opposite effect to that obtained for P. douglasiana. The favorable response of the plants to the use of fertilizers, regardless of the container size, indicates that the nutrients that were part of the substrate were insufficient to meet all the nutritional needs of the plants during the initial stages of their growth. Finally, the difference of behavior between species as an effect of the use of fertilizers clearly shows that each of the two species has specific nutritional needs. The current research considers that these differences are related to the contrasting growth habits of the utilized taxa.

Dv1NF = 1 L container without fertilizer; Dv1F = 1 L container with fertilizer; Dv5NF = 5 L container without fertilizer); Dv5F = 5 L container with fertilizer; (*) Significant treatment based on ANOVA, n=15, P<0.05.

Figure 3 Increases in the morphological variables in relation to the baseline evaluation in Pinus devoniana Lindl., as an effect of the various treatments. 

In the case of P. devoniana, the treatments were not clearly grouped by the effect of the container volume but by the effect of the use of fertilizers, although this was different for 1 L and 5 L containers. In general, the effect of the application of fertilizers reflected an increase in the content of nutrients in 1 L containers (Dv1F), and a decrease in 5 L containers (Dv5F).

As for the quality indices, both Dickson's and the root container index showed a significant effect of the container size and the use of fertilizers (Figure 4).

Dv1NF = 1 L container without fertilizer; Dv1F = 1 L container with fertilizer; Dv5NF = 5 L container without fertilizer); Dv5F = 5 L container with fertilizer; (*) Significant treatment based on ANOVA, n=15, P<0.05.Dv1NF = 1 L container without fertilizer; Dv1F = 1 L container with fertilizer; Dv5NF = 5 L container without fertilize; Dv5F = 5 L container with fertilizer. There are no significant differences between measures followed by the same letter (n=15, P<0.05, LSD).

Figure 4 Response of the quality indices of Pinus devoniana Lindl. to the treatments. 

The quality indices (Figure 4) in all the treatments turned out to be adequate for Dickson's index (>0.5) (Dickson et al., 1960; Sáenz et al., 2010); however, the highest values were determined for treatments Dv5NF and Dv5F, with 8.55 and 7.32, respectively. The root container index (ICR) showed differences between treatments, with a tendency to attain higher values with the Dv5NF and Dv5F treatments (1.16 and 162.00, respectively). Based on this, ICR is said to be a good quality indicator for plants to be transplanted to the field. In this respect, a study by Bernaola (2012) on Pinus hartwegii Lindl. in nursery conditions pointed out that higher ICRs (27.5 and 125.0) result in higher survival rates (13 and 94 %, respectively) two years after the plants have been established in the field.

Nutrient content of Pinus devoniana

Table 6 summarizes the effects of the treatments on the mineral content. Only the nitrogen content was affected by the container size, with a tendency toward a higher concentration in the 5 L containers, but without significant differences between the treatments with and without fertilizers (1.0 and 0.92). The rest of the minerals (calcium, iron and copper) attained higher values in the 1 L containers; however, only the calcium and iron contents increased in the fertilized plants.

Table 6 Nutrient content of dry Pinus devoniana Lindl. needles. 

Dv1NF = 1 L container without fertilizer; Dv1F = 1 L container with fertilizer; Dv5NF = 5 L container without fertilize; Dv5F = 5 L container with fertilizer. There are no significant differences between measures followed by the same letter (n=15, P<0.05, LSD). (*) Proposed by Landis et al. (1989).

The content of nitrogen obtained with the treatments in 5 L containers (with and without fertilizer) is due to the fact that the amount of nitrogen in the substrate was sufficient to meet the nitrogen demand of the trees; these results agree with the assessment by Soriano (2011) in P. devoniana and P. patula Schiede ex Schltdl. et Cham.; according to Soriano, the effect of nitrogen on the variables height, diameter, dry foliage weight, total biomass and Dickson's quality index was highly significant. Gough et al. (2004) point out that the use of fertilizers has a direct effect on the photosynthetic capacity, better growth and higher biomass production in P. taeda L. On the other hand, low nitrogen contents in 1 L treatments are due to the smaller amount of substrate and of fertilizer used in them.

Given the importance of nitrogen-rich fertilizers for P. devoniana, according to Aldana and Aguilera (2002) a daily dose of 75 ppm of nitrogen promotes greater growth in height, diameter and biomass accumulation in P. devoniana; this agrees with the treatment with fertilizers containing a higher dose of nitrogen.

Lower calcium contents in the needles of plants grown in 5 L containers are due to the fact that the calcium was meant to contribute to the structural functions of the plants, rather than for its accumulation in the needles; this is reflected in higher increases in all the growth variables with these treatments, compared with the 1 L treatments, in which the high calcium content is associated to its scarce mobility. Therefore, calcium was accumulated in the needles and the plants showed lower increases of the said variables (Alcántar et al., 2012).

Correlation between the morphological variables and the foliar nutrient content in Pinus devoniana

The correlation analysis between the morphological variables and the foliar nutrient content evidenced that the concentration of nitrogen and copper in the needles had a positive effect on the growth in height (r=0.97*). This is because nitrogen is a major component of proteins and nucleic acids. Furthermore, it is involved in the photosynthesis and breathing of the plant. Copper is part of the metabolism of secondary compounds and favors the development of biomass in pine trees (Jeong et al., 2010; Alcántar et al., 2012). Manganese had a favorable effect on the increases in aerial weight and root container index (r=0.96*); however, its values are not shown in the results table because they had no statistical difference (ANOVA >0.05). Manganese is also involved in the photosynthesis, breathing and synthesis of proteins (Alcántar et al., 2012).


During the nursery stage, the Double-Transplanting system increases the growth variables of Pinus douglasiana and Pinus devoniana, and, therefore, improves the quality indices associated to their survival rates in the field.

The two evaluated species had different responses to the treatments, whose effect was dependent on their growth habit. P. douglasiana requires larger containers, while the application of fertilizers is unnecessary. Conversely, P. devoniana requires not only larger containers but also the use of added fertilizers.

N, Fe, Cu, Ca and Mn foliar contents were associated with growth in both species. Dickson's quality index (QI) best determines the quality of the plant in fast growing species such as P. douglasiana, while the quality of P. devoniana -a species with cespitose growth habit- is the root container index (ICR).

It is proposed to use the ICR to predict the response of the plants in field because its use in the nursery is both easy and practical.

Conflict of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Contribution by author

Rosario Marilú Bernaola-Paucar: she conducted the research and writing of the first draft and the final document corrections; Juan Francisco Zamora- Natera: contribution to data analysis and interpretation of results; José de Jesús Vargas-Radillo: review and correction suggestions generation; Víctor Manuel Cetina-Alcalá: intelectual input in drafting the manuscript and support in the laboratory; Ramón Rodríguez-Macías: document review and support in the; Eduardo Salcedo-Pérez: idea for the study, monitoring, support and supervisión of all the work review of the draft and final written correction.


The authors would like to express their gratitude to the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Conacyt; to the managers of the Vivero Forestal Valle de Ameca S. P. R. de R. L. and to the firm Innovaciones Industriales y Forestales S. A. de C. V. for the support they provided to the project.


Alcántar G., G. y M. Sandoval V. 1999. Manual de análisis químico de tejido vegetal. Publicación especial 10. Sociedad Mexicana de la Ciencia del Suelo, A.C. Chapingo, Edo. de Méx., México. 240p. [ Links ]

Alcántar G., G. , L. Trejo T., L. Fernández P. y Ma. de las Nieves Rodríguez M. 2012. Elementos esenciales. : Alcántar G., G. y L. Trejo T. (coords.). Nutrición de cultivos. Reedición. Printing Arts México, S. de R. L. de C.V. Texcoco, Edo. de Méx., México. pp. 7-47. [ Links ]

Aldana B., R. y M. Aguilera R. 2002. Procedimientos y cálculos básicos útiles en la operación de viveros que producen en contenedor. Pronare. Conafor. Guadalajara, Jal., México. 44 p. [ Links ]

Altamash, B. A., K. N. Qaisar, M. A. Khan and M. Majeed. 2009. Benefit-cost analysis of raising Pinus wallichiana seedlings in different capacities/ sizes of root trainers in the nursery. Forestry Studies in China 1(2): 18-121. [ Links ]

Alzugaray, P., D. Haase y R. Rose. 2004. Efecto del volumen radicular y la tasa de fertilización sobre el comportamiento en terreno de plantas de pino oregón (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco producidas con el método 1+1. Bosque 25(2): 17-33. [ Links ]

Aphalo, P. and R. Rikala. 2003. Field performance of silver-birch planting stock grown at different spacing and in containers of different volume. New Forests 25: 93-108. [ Links ]

Becerra, P., G. Cruz, R. Santiago and C. Giorgio. 2013. Importance of irrigation and plant size in the establishment success of different native species in a degraded ecosystem of central Chile. Bosque 34(1): 103-1. [ Links ]

Bernaola P., R. M. 2012. Evaluación del sistema de doble trasplante de Pinus hartwegii para la restauración de suelos en el Parque Nacional Volcán Nevado de Colima. Tesis de Maestría. Departamento de Madera, Celulosa y Papel. Universidad de Guadalajara. Guadalajara, Jal., México. 99 p. [ Links ]

Birchler, T., R. W. Rose, A. Royo y M. Pardos. 1998. La planta ideal: Revisión del concepto, parámetros definitorios e implementación práctica. Investigación Agraria Sistemas y Recursos Forestales 7(1-2): 10-121. [ Links ]

Cañellas, I., L. Finat, A. Bachiller y G. Montero. 1999. Comportamiento de planta de Pinus pinea en vivero y campo: ensayos de técnicas de cultivo de planta, fertilización aplicación de herbicidas. Investigación agraria. Producción y Protección Vegetal 8(2): 335-359. [ Links ]

Dickson, A., A. Leaf and J. Hosner. 1960. Quality appraisal of white spruce and white pine seedlings stock in nurseries. Forest Chronicle 36(1):10-13. [ Links ]

Domínguez-Larena, S., N. Herrero S., I. Carrasco M., L. Ocaña B., J. L. Peñuelas R. and J. G. Mexal. 2006. Container characteristics influence Pinus pinea seedling development in the nursery and field. Forest Ecology and Management 221(1): 63-71. [ Links ]

Eguiluz, T. 1982. Clima y distribución del género Pinus en México. Ciencia Forestal en México 38 (7): 30-40. [ Links ]

Fideicomiso del Programa de Desarrollo Forestal del Estado de Jalisco (Fiprodefo). 2006. Programa Estratégico Forestal del Estado de Jalisco (PEFJ) 2007-2030. Secretaría de Desarrollo Rural y de la Dirección General Forestal y de Sustentabilidad. Guadalajara, Jal., México. 201p. [ Links ]

García M., J. J. 1985. Efecto de la fertilización química sobre el desarrollo de Pinus douglasiana en vivero. Memoria de la Tercera Reunión Nacional sobre Plantaciones Forestales. SARH, INIF. Morelia, Mich., México. pp. 47-48. [ Links ]

Gough, C., J. Seiler and C. Maier. 2004. Short-term effects of fertilization on loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) physiology. Plant Cell and Environment 27: 876-886. [ Links ]

Hahn, P. F. 1990. The Use of Styroblock 1 & 2 Containers for P+1 Transplant Stock Production. : Rose, R., S. J. Campbell and T. D. Landis (eds.). Target seedling symposium: Proceedings, combined meeting of the western forest nursery associations. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Roseburg, Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-200. Collins, CO, USA. pp. 53-63, 223-230. [ Links ]

Harrington, J., J. Mexal and J. Fisher. 1994. Volume displacement provides a quick and accurate way to quantify new root production. Tree Planters Notes. Num. 3. Las Cruces, NM, USA. pp. 121-124. [ Links ]

Hess, L. and H. De Kroon. 2007. Effects of rooting volume and nutrient availability as an alternative ex planation for root self/non-self discrimination. Journal of Ecology 95: 241-251. [ Links ]

Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (Inegi). 1999. Prontuario de información geográfica municipal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, Ameca, Jalisco, Clave geoestadística 14006. México, D.F., México. s/p. [ Links ]

Jeong, J., P. Jun-Ho, K. Jong-Ik, L. Jong-Taek, L. Sang-Rai and K. Choonsig. 2010. Effects of container volumes and fertilization on red (Pinus densiflora) and black pine (Pinus thunbergii) seedlings growth. Forest Science and Technology 6(2):80-86. [ Links ]

Landis, T., R. Dumroese and D. Haase. 2010. The container tree nursery manual. Volume 7. Seedling processing, storage, and outplanting Agriculture Handbook 674. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Washington, DC, USA. 200 p. [ Links ]

Landis, T. , R. Tinus, S. McDonald and J. Barnett. 1989. Seedling nutrition and irrigation, Vol. 4. The container tree nursery manual. Agriculture Handbook 674. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Washington, DC, USA. 19p. [ Links ]

Landis, T. , R. Tinus, S. McDonald and J. Barnett. 1990. Containers and growing media, Vol. 2. The container tree nursery manual. Agriculture Handbook 674. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Washington, DC, USA. 88p. [ Links ]

Landis, T. , R. Tinus , S. McDonald andJ. Barnett . 1994. Nursery planning, development, and management, Vol. 1. The container tree nursery manual. Agriculture Handbook. 674. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Washington, DC, USA. 188 p. [ Links ]

Maldonado-Benítez, R., A. Aldrete, J. Lopéz-Upton., H. Vaquera-Huerta y M. Cetina-Alcalá. 2011. Producción de Pinus gregii Engelm. en mezclas de sustrato con hidrogel y riego, en vivero. Agrociencia 45: 389-398. [ Links ]

Nambiar, K. and R. Sands. 1993. Competition for water and nutrients in forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23:1955-1968. [ Links ]

NeSmith, D. and J. Duval. 1998. The Effect of Container Size. HortTechnology 8: 495-498. [ Links ]

Ortega, U., J. Majada, A. Mena-Petite, J. Sánchez Z., N. Rodríguez-Iturrizar, K. Txarterina, J. Azpitarte and M. Duñabeitia. 2006. Field performance of Pinus radiata D. Don produced in nursery with different types of containers. New Forests 31:97-12. [ Links ]

Pineda-Ojeda, T., V. Cetina-Alcalá, J. Vera-Castillo, C. Cervantes-Martínez y A. Khalil-Gardezi. 2004. El trasplante contenedor-contenedor (1+1) y contenedor-raíz desnuda (P+1) en la producción de planta de Pinus gregii Engelm. Agrociencia 38: 679-686. [ Links ]

Prieto R., J., P. Domínguez C., E. Cornejo O. y J. de J. Návar Ch. 2007. Efecto del envase y del riego en vivero en el establecimiento de Pinus cooperi Blanco en dos condiciones de sitio. Madera y Bosque 13(1): 79-97. [ Links ]

Quiroz, I., M. Pincheira, J. Hernández, M. González, E. García y H. Soto. 2014. Efecto del volumen radicular sobre el crecimiento de Acacia dealbata Link. en vivero y en terreno en el secano de la región del Biobío, Chile. Revista Árvore 38 (1): 55-164. [ Links ]

Reyes-Reyes, J., A. Aldrete, V. Cetina Alcalá y J. López-Upton. 2005. Producción de plántulas de Pinus pseudostrobus Var. apulcensis en sustratos a base de Aserrín. Revista Chapingo. Serie ciencias forestales y del ambiente 1(2): 105-10. [ Links ]

Ritchie, G. A. 2003. Root physiology and phenology: the key to transplanting success. Riley, L. E., R. K. Dumroese and T. D. Landis (coords.). National Proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations-2002. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station Proceedings. Ogden, UT, USA. pp. 28, 98-104. [ Links ]

Rodríguez S., F. 1982. Fertilizantes - Nutrición Vegetal, A.G.T. Editor, S.A. México, D.F., México. 157p. [ Links ]

Sáenz, J., F. Villaseñor, H. Muñoz, A. Rueda y J. Prieto. 2010. Calidad de planta en viveros forestales de clima templado en Michoacán. Folleto Técnico Núm. 17. SAGARPA-INIFAP-CIRPAC-Campo Experimental Uruapan. Uruapan, Mich., México. 48 p. [ Links ]

Salcedo, E., R. Bernaola, E. Hernández, F. López-Dellamary y J. Villa. 2012. Propuesta metodológica para la reforestación de áreas con condiciones edafoclimáticas especiales. Estudio de caso Pinus hartwegii Lindl. en el Nevado de Colima. Salcedo P., E., E. Hernández A., J. A. Vázquez G., T, Escoto G. y N. Díaz E. (eds.). Recursos Forestales en el Occidente de México. Diversidad, manejo, producción, aprovechamiento y conservación. Tomo I. Amaya Ediciones S. de R.L. de C.V. Guadalajara, Jal., México. 226-243 p. [ Links ]

Soriano E., G. B. 2011. Efecto de fertilización de N, P y K en la calidad de planta de P. patula y P. devoniana en vivero. Maestria. Postgrado Forestal, Colegio de Postgraduados.Campus Montecillos, Edo. de Méx., México. 89 p. [ Links ]

South, B., W. Harris, P. Barnett, J. Hainds and H. Gjerstad. 2004. Effect of container type and seedling size on survival and early height growth of Pinus palustris seedlings in Alabama, U.S.A. Forest Ecology Management 204(2-3): 385-398. [ Links ]

Terry, N. and J. Abadía. 1986. Function of iron in chloroplasts. Journal of Plant Nutrition 9:609-646. [ Links ]

Thompson, B. 1985. Seedling morphological evaluation- what you can tell by looking : Duryea, M. L. (ed.). Proceedings: evaluation seedling quality: principles, procedures, and predictive abilities of mayor test. Oregon State University. Corvallis, OR, USA. pp. 59-71. [ Links ]

Received: July 06, 2015; Accepted: December 21, 2015

Creative Commons License Este es un artículo publicado en acceso abierto bajo una licencia Creative Commons