# Factor Analysis of Nursery Seedling Data in Different Compost Substrates

At. PAPAIOANNOU^{1}, K. KITIKIDOU^{2} and D. SEILOPOULOS^{1}

^{1} *Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece*

^{2}* Dimokritos University, Orestiada, Greece*

### Abstract

PAPAIOANNOU, At., K. KITIKIDOU and D. SEILOPOULOS, 2011. Factor analysis of nursery seedling data in different compost substrates. *Bulg. J. Agric. Sci.,* 17: 182-190

Analyzing units described by a mixture of sets of quantitative and categorical variables is a relevant challenge.
Principal components analysis was used to include these two types of variables in order to study the correlations of a number of forest soil variables by grouping the variables in factors. Seedlings of four economically important and ecologically different species, *Quercus pubescens*, *Pinus maritima*, *Pinus nigra* and *Pinus brutia*, were grown in paper pots filled with either mixtures of sawdust, straw, byproducts of rice or sugar beet substrates. The variables used in the analysis were: tree species, composts, height, diameter, weight above ground and underground weight. The principal components method of factors extraction (PCA) begins by finding a linear combination of variables (a component) that accounts for as much variation in the original variables as possible. It then finds another component that accounts for as much of the remaining variation as possible and is uncorrelated with the previous component, continuing in this way until there are as many components as original variables. A few components accounted for most of the variation, and these components were used to replace the original variables. In the nursery, species responded primarily to substrate type. However, there were no interactions with nursery treatments.

*Key words:* Seedlings production, composts, paper pots, principal components analysis

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