Short rotation coppice (SRC) willow is often regarded as one of the most promising crops to increase biomass production and thereby meet the growing demand for renewable energy. This study is based on the hypotheses that biomass production of SRC willow responds positively to increasing doses of nitrogen, and that similar biomass production response can be achieved by use of mineral fertilizer, sewage sludge and animal manure. A 2-year experiment was established with the clone Tordis grown on a sandy soil in northern Jutland, Denmark. The experiment included mineral fertilizer, sludge and manure, and treatments of different doses up to 360 kg nitrogen ha−1. The fertilization led to a modest but significant increase in biomass production. The largest production of 11.9 oven dried tons/ha/year was obtained for the application of 60 kg nitrogen ha−1 annually. Higher doses did not lead to increased biomass production; in fact, production seemed to decline with increasing fertilization application (not significant). We found no difference in production between different types of fertilizers. The limited response of the fertilization may be caused by a high fertility of the soil due to former agricultural fertilization. The number of sagging shoots increased significantly with increasing nitrogen dose.
Bioenergy Research, 2014, Vol 7, Issue 1, p. 319-328