What can it do for you?
Our advisory service helps nursery managers and foresters to obtain information on the physiological and morphological quality of their stock before planting.
Using good quality plants is an essential precondition for successful establishment. Planting poor quality stock may result in reduced survival and early growth.
The Plant Quality Testing Service is a chargeable service which has been in operation since 1992. We test samples of plants and provide reports for anyone in the forestry sector.
A range of physiological tests can be used to measure different aspects of a plant's condition. (Test results are related to baseline information during interpretation and report writing).
|Test type||Physical||Physiological||Sample size (no. of plants)||Time for report
|Morphology: Height, RCD, usability||Yes||x||x||x||15**||1|
|Morphology: Root:shoot ratio||Yes||Yes||x||x||15**||4|
|Root electrolyte leakage (REL)||x||x||x||Yes||10*||2|
|Shoot electrolyte leakage (SEL)||x||x||Yes||x||10*||2|
|Root moisture content (RMC)||x||x||x||Yes||15**||4|
|Root growth potential (RGP)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||15||14|
|Shoot/root frost tolerance||x||x||Yes||Yes||15||14 to 21|
* Can use the same sample for both REL and SEL tests
** Can use the same sample for morphology and RMC tests
Morphological values are compared with an industry standard BS3936 part 4. Plant usability is also scored identifying those that should have been culled at the nursery.
Root electrolyte leakage (REL) values are highly correlated with plant survival and height growth. Actively growing plants or those that have suffered damage have higher values than dormant or undamaged plants.
Shoot electrolyte leakage (SEL) can be used to predict if needle loss is likely after planting. Plants with high leakage values may suffer browning, needle loss or bud death.
Frost tolerance measurements give an accurate indication of dormancy and the plant's ability to survice cold/freeze storage or cold planting site conditions.
Interpretation of results categorises plant samples into one of three 'quality' ratings which can be linked to an expected survival percentage.
Test results can also be used to assess plant dormancy prior to lifting. Fully dormant plants can be safely cold stored for longer than active plants.
Testing cold stored plants at intervals will detect the onset of physiological deterioration and help prevent unnecessary damage.
Baseline information available
|Conifer species||Broadleaved species|
Spruce (QSS, VPSS, RSS, WSS, NS)
Oak (pendunculate and sessile)
Birch (silver and downy)
Limited information is available for minor species, but general principles can be applied from related species.
For more information contact:
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY
Tel: 0131 445 2176
Fax: 0131 445 5124