Document Type


Publication Date



Trees -- Nutrition, Trees -- Effect of minerals on, Plant-soil relationships, Forest ecology, Soils -- Composition


Understanding the supply of nutrients from various soil sources and the sensitivity of tree species to soil nutrient availability is critical for predicting the effects of declines in base cations due to acid rain and forest harvesting on forest health and productivity. We collected soil samples from 19 sites in the northeastern United States, chemically analyzed them using a sequential extraction procedure, and compared them to the chemical composition of foliage of the dominant tree species. Concentrations of Ca and Mg in foliage were correlated with exchangeable Ca and Mg concentrations in the upper mineral soil; for most tree species they were also correlated to acid-extractable Ca and Mg in the parent material (C horizon). Foliar P was better correlated with soil P in the upper mineral soil than in the C horizon, while foliar AI was insensitive to soil AI concentrations. In five sites in New Hampshire, the Ca/Sr of foliage was consistent with that of the Oie horizon, after taking the reported discrimination of Ca over Sr into account. In sites in New York, without an Oie horizon, the Ca/Sr of foliage was too high to be explained by any of the soil pools. A comparison of Ca/Sr ratios of foliage among species at common sites showed oak (Quercus spp.) to have higher Ca/Sr ratios than sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.), birch (Betula spp.), red maple (A. rubrum L.) and beech (Fagus spp.). The interpretation of soil Ca sources from Ca/Sr ratios is complicated at sites where a single horizon does not dominate the source.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Soil Science Society of America Journal. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version is available at:



Persistent Identifier