Phosphorus nutrition of Populus × canescens reflects adaptation to high P-availability in the soil.
Phosphorus (P) constitutes one of five macronutrients essential for plant growth and development due to the central function of phosphate in energy metabolism, inheritance and metabolic control. In many ecosystems, plant available soil-P gets limited by soil aging. Hence, plants have developed adaptation strategies to cope with such limitation by an efficient plant and ecosystem internal P-cycling during annual growth. The natural floodplain habitat of fast-growing Populus × canescens is characterized by high soil-P availability. It was thus expected that the P-nutrition of P. × canescens had adapted to this conditions. Therefore, different P-fractions in different twig tissues were investigated during two annual growth cycles. The P-nutrition of P. × canescens markedly differs from that of European beech grown at low soil-P availability (Netzer F, Schmid C, Herschbach C, Rennenberg H (2017) Phosphorus-nutrition of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) during annual growth depends on tree age and P-availability in the soil. Environ Exp Bot 137:194-207). This was mainly due to a lack of tree internal P-cycling during annual growth indicated by the absence of P-storage and remobilization in twig bark and wood. Hence, strategies to economize P-nutrition and to prevent P-losses had not developed. This fits with the fast-growth strategy of P. × canescens at unrestricted P-availability. Hence, the P-nutrition strategy of P. × canescens can be seen as an evolutionary adaptation to its natural growth habitat.