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Forest Soils


  • Radiata pine foliage sampling April 2018
    Ground-based sampling of radiata pine in New Zealand forests. This is used to monitor tree nutrient levels, which can be good indicators of site fertility and tree health.
  • Forest soils and productivity December 2016
    The soil properties of planted forests – topsoil depth, soil structure, rooting depth, hard pans, erosion risk, soil texture, water holding capacity, nutrient supply – all have an impact on…


Tree Grower articles

  • Soils underpin the future of our forests (Access: unrestricted)
    Simeon Smaill and Michelle Harnett, August 2017
    Soil forms the foundation which supports the forestry industry. Managing the mix of minerals, microbes, moisture and organic matter which make up soil to get the greatest tree growth while…
  • Foliage sampling season begins in February (Access: unrestricted)
    Murray Davis and Jianming Xue, February 2010
    Foliage analysis is needed to determine the nutrient status of a forest crop. This analysis is to identify the cause of a nutrient disorder or poor vigour, or to confirm…



  • Digging the Good Dirt on Soil Bugs: Denis Hocking's blog, October 07, 2015
    Volunteers Wanted: Scion soil scientist Simeon Smaill is looking for volunteers to help with a series of trials he is running around the country.  He is looking at the effect…



  • Making better use of forest soil microbes August 2015
    Soil microbes can have a significant positive impact on forest performance, but we have few reliable options to enhance the benefits they can provide. A substantial new trial series has…
  • What science is the forest levy providing farm foresters? April 2015
    Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future (GCFF) Research Programme: At the recent GCFF conference a wide array of results with direct relevance to farm foresters were presented by the scientists working…
  • Trees, soil and you February 2015
    A new survey has been released by Scion to capture current industry opinion regarding the value of soil data to forest managers, as part of the Growing Confidence in Forestry’s…
  • Looking underground without digging a hole November 2014
    Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future (GCFF) Research Programme A new soil survey tool allows Scion scientists to assess below ground variation in soil properties using electromagnetic pulses. November 2014 The…


Other sources of information

  • Planted Forest Soils (Scion publication, August 2017)
    Planted forest soils provide many benefits including growing timber and fibre, cleaning water through filtering, and regulating flooding by storing water. New Zealand has a wide diversity of soil types. They are generally young and naturally acidic with low levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur. Planted forests are typically on low fertility or steep terrain land that is not suitable for agriculture. Best management practices and ongoing improvements are needed for planted forest soils to continue to provide multiple benefits to New Zealanders. This includes maintaining fertility in a low nutrient input production system, especially as many of New Zealand’s planted forest soils are now supporting their third rotation There are also challenges in reducing soil loss through erosion in steep, erodible country, particularly during harvest.
  • Planted-forest Nutrition
    Davis, M., J. Xue and P. Clinton, Scion, 2015
  • The occurrence and treatment of magnesium deficiency in radiata pine in New Zealand
    FRI Bulletin No. 172, Hunter, I. R. (1996).
  • An atlas of radiata pine nutrition in New Zealand
    FRI Bulletin No. 165, Hunter, I. R., B. E. Rodgers, A. Dunningham, J. M. Prince and A. J. Thorn (1991).
  • Field guide to nutrient deficiencies in radiata pine
    FRI Bulletin No. 97 (Supplement), Will, G. M. (1985).
  • Nutrient deficiencies and fertiliser use in New Zealand exotic forests
    FRI Bulletin No. 97, Will, G. M. (1985).


Farm Forestry - Headlines

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