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Effects of Herbaceous Weed Control Using Herbicides on a Young Loblolly Pine Plantation

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On an Upper Coastal Plain site in east-central Alabama, herbicides were used to create three herbaceous vegetation treatments based on duration and degree of herbaceous vegetation control during the first two growing seasons following planting of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.): (1) low--near complete control for two seasons; (2) medium--single broadcast application of a herbicide at the beginning of the first growing season only; (3) high--no herbaceous vegetation control. Woody vegetation was periodically controlled on all plots. These treatments created a wide range of residual herbaceous vegetation. Soil moisture and first-year height and diameter growth of loblolly pine were negatively correlated with the level of herbaceous vegetation. A wide range in soil moisture was noted for comparable levels of herbaceous vegetation across treatment plots. This demonstrates the necessity for researchers examining effects of competition on pines to also assess soil moisture or soil attributes affecting water holding capacity. First-year seedling diameter was found to be more responsive than height to the level of herbaceous vegetation and associated levels of soil moisture. However, tip moth incidence was greater at the lowest levels of herbaceous vegetation, possibly reducing height growth below its potential. First-year pine growth was most highly correlated to soil moisture level in late August, when soil moisture was lowest, than any other sample date. During the first growing season, pine growth on medium and high herbaceous level plots fell behind that on low level plots (near complete control) once herbaceous biomass approached 25 to 45% of September biomass on high herbaceous level plots (no control). Effects of herbaceous weed levels on pine growth are attributed in part to differences in soil moisture and their effects on seedling water status and physiological processes. Forest Sci. 32:882-899.
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Keywords: Soil moisture; herbaceous biomass; pine growth; vegetation control

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, School of Forestry, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, AL 36849

Publication date: 1986-12-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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