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Thinning Red Alder: Effects of Method and Spacing

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A 14-year-old fully stocked red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) stand on a site index 30 m (50 yr) site in northwest Oregon was precommercially thinned and growth measured for 5 years. Treatments were (1) 4.3 x 4.3 m spacing (541 trees/ha), chemically thinned, (2) 6.1 x 6.1 m spacing (269 trees/ha), chemically thinned, (3) 6.1 x 6.1 m spacing, chain-saw thinned, and (4) control (1754 trees/ha). Chemical thinning was done by trunk injection of 2,4-D and caused some damage (flashback) to neighboring crop trees. Thinning increased individual-tree radial growth 49% to 100% and decreased tree height growth by as much as 56%. In combination, this resulted in no significant change in tree volume growth with thinning. The lack of tree volume growth increase combined with the decrease in stem density with thinning produced a net decrease in stand volume growth with thinning. A review of the literature showed height growth reductions to be common among other alder studies. Tree basal area growth on the chemically thinned plots did not increase as much as on the chain-saw thinned plots, suggesting a prolonged growth reduction effect from the herbicide treatment. Diameter growth decreased with increasing degree of herbicide-induced crown damage. Thinning increased the size but not the numbers of epicormic branches. The longevity or effects on wood quality of these branches is not known. For. Sci. 35(1):16-29.

Keywords: Alnus rubra; Density management; epicormic branches; flashback; stem injection; thinning

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Extension Agent, Oregon State University Extension Service, Clackamas County, Oregon City, OR 97405

Publication date: 1989-03-01

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  • 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.

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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
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