Lukjanova, A. and Mandre, M. 2009. The Effect of Wood Ash Fertilisation on the Anatomy and Localisation of Lignin in Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) Needles.   Baltic Forestry, 15 (2): 177-185

The effect of wood ash application to the soil on the anatomy and lignin accumulation in the needles of 20-year-old Scots pine trees growing on nutrient poor sandy soil (Arenosol) was investigated. Comparative-analytical studies were conducted in seven sample plots treated with different doses of wood ash (0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 kg m²) and in a control plot without treatment. For anatomical analyses cross-sections of needles of one and two years old were made. These were stained, photographed under microscope and measured. Analysis showed that, in general, the current year needles had the largest average value of anatomical characteristics in all sample plots. At the same time the xylem of the needles of pines from the sample plot with wood ash application of 1.0 kg m² and from the control plot increased with age. Significant differences (p < 0.05) in the anatomical characteristic between the needles from trees growing on sample plots treated with 0.5 and 1.0 kg m² and the control plot were detected. The greatest anatomical differences between these needles were detected in the oldest needles. Histochemical analysis showed a greater degree of lignification of cellular walls in older needles and more intensive accumulation of lignin in the needles from sample plots treated with 0.5 and 1.0 kg m². Morphological measurements showed the positive trends in the length and mass of needles at 0.25 kg m² wood ash.

Key words: Pinus sylvestris, needle anatomy, lignification, wood ash