The objectives for this research were to determine: 1) whether sulfated micronutrient addition increased growth of container-grown pin oak (Quercus palustris Münchh) and Japanese maple (Acer palmatum Thunb.) seedlings by supplying micronutrients, sulfur, or decreasing substrate pH, 2) S requirements of Q. palustris and A. palmatum container-grown in a pine bark (PB) substrate, and 3) if there are any conditions that will affect these S requirements. Container grown Q. palustris and A. palmatum seedlings were grown in PB, amended (or not) with the following treatments: control (no amendment), Micromax (commercial micronutrient fertilizer [sulfate form]), K2SO4, H2SO4, HCl, chelated micronutrients, elemental S, or CaSO4. Dry weights of plants in all treatments supplying S were higher than for plants receiving no S. These data indicate that S, not micronutrient application, was the primary cause of increased growth from the addition of sulfated micronutrients. In other experiments these two species were fertilized with 8 different concentrations of S application (0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40, or 80 mg·liter-1). Regression analysis revealed dry weights of both species were near maximum at the extrapolated application concentration of 30 mg·liter-1 S, which corresponded to approximately 15 and 7 mg·liter-1 S in substrate solution for oak and maple, respectively.
In another set of experiments plants were fertilized with Micromax or FeSO4 with or without lime. In the plus lime treatments (substrate pH 6.1), plant dry weights were higher in Micromax fertilized plants than for FeSO4 fertilized plants. However, in the minus lime treatment (substrate pH 4.5), FeSO4 addition effectively supplied S to plants.