Intensive culture of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings on poorly drained sites in the Western Gulf region of the United States

by Rahman, Mohd Shafiqur

Abstract (Summary)
A significant acreage of poorly drained sites occurs in the Western Gulf region of the United States. These sites experience standing water through much of the winter and spring, resulting in poor seedling survival. In addition, the sites occasionally experience a summer drought that affects tree growth. This study was designed to determine the effects of intensive forest management on seedling growth and physiology, and to enhance seedling performance under these harsh conditions. Fertilization, chemical vegetation control and mechanical site preparation were used in different combinations to test the effects of these intensive forest management tools on seedling above- and below-ground growth, survival, water status, gas exchange attributes, and nutrient concentrations in the foliage and soil solution. Ten sites were established in southern Arkansas in 1998 and 1999 to monitor loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedling performance in three consecutive growing seasons between 1998 and 2000.

Fertilization, chemical vegetation control and mechanical site preparation increased above-ground growth. Growth increment from mechanical site preparation was comparable to that from fertilization. Survival was not affected by any treatment. Fertilization enhanced root growth, more so in the shallow soil layers. Subsoil bulk density greatly restricted root growth, resulting in decreased above-ground growth. Chemical vegetation control made more soil water available to the seedlings during drought, resulting in increased seedling water potential. The effect of chemical vegetation control on seedling water potential was absent in the early growing season when soil moisture was abundant. Seedlings on plots treated with bedding-plus-fertilizer or bedding alone experienced stomatal closure at times of severe water stress while those treated with chemical vegetation control were able to continue net carbon dioxide assimilation. Fertilization did not increase needle nutrient concentrations, but increased needle weight, thereby increasing total nutrient content. Fertilization increased base cation concentrations in the soil solution, but had no effect on nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations. Intensive forest management was found to be a viable tool for optimum loblolly pine seedling growth and survival on poorly drained sites in the Western Gulf region of the United States.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Messina, Michael G.; Hons, Frank M.; Fisher, Richard F.; Tjoelker, Mark G.

School:Texas A&M University

School Location:USA - Texas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:loblolly intensive culture flatwoods fragipan fertilzer fertilization herbicides lysimeter minirhizotron nutrient


Date of Publication:08/01/2003

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