iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Addressing post-transplant summer water stress in Pinus pinea and Quercus ilex seedlings

Marta Pardos   , Rafael Calama, Carolina Mayoral, Guillermo Madrigal, Mariola Sánchez-González

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 348-358 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1256-007
Published: Sep 16, 2014 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

In central Spain, post-transplant water stress produces high seedling mortality after the first summer following outplanting. Our study was designed to determine whether survival and performance of outplanted stone pine (Pinus pinea) and holm oak (Quercus ilex) seedlings in a burned area could be improved by summer irrigation and mulching and to identify whether there is a species-specific adaptive capacity to respond to treatment and environment. Seedlings were outplanted in March 2011 in 200 planting holes in an area of 1.1 ha. Mulch was added in June; irrigation started in July and was repeated every week until mid-September. The severity of the 2011 summer drought constrained growth rates and photosynthetic characteristics, mainly in the non-irrigated seedlings, whose survival at the end of the year after planting was approximately 2.5%. Stone pine and holm oak seedlings responded more to irrigation than to mulching in terms of shoot growth, biomass and survival. Furthermore, stone pine seedlings were found to be more responsive to the partial alleviation of summer drought than holm oak seedlings. Irrigation alone produced similar results to those obtained when both irrigation and mulching were employed. In conclusion, first year summer irrigation should be considered as a planned adaptation measure in the management of outplanted Mediterranean ecosystems, because once a gravimetrically measured soil moisture level as low as 2% is achieved seedling survival and physiological performance can be guaranteed. However, the repercussions for the potential persistence of both species in the area will not only be related to the recurrence and intensity of summer droughts but also to drought duration.


Stone Pine, Holm Oak, Irrigation, Drought, Seedling Survival, Physiological Traits

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Corresponding author

Marta Pardos


Pardos M, Calama R, Mayoral C, Madrigal G, Sánchez-González M (2015). Addressing post-transplant summer water stress in Pinus pinea and Quercus ilex seedlings. iForest 8: 348-358. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1256-007

Academic Editor

Gianfranco Minotta

Paper history

Received: Jan 29, 2014
Accepted: Jul 20, 2014

First online: Sep 16, 2014
Publication Date: Jun 01, 2015
Publication Time: 1.93 months

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