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The Effects of Irrigation and Fertilization on Specific Gravity of Loblolly Pine

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The effects of two treatments, irrigation and fertilization, were examined on specific gravity (SG)-related wood properties of loblolly pine trees (Pinus taeda L.) grown in Scotland County, North Carolina. The effects on the core as a whole, on the juvenile core, on the mature core, and from year to year were all analyzed. The results indicate that fertilization significantly lowered latewood SG, overall SG, and percent latewood and did so consistently throughout the period of study. Irrigation significantly lowered earlywood SG during the phase of juvenile wood production but significantly raised latewood SG during the period of mature wood production. Significant interaction between fertilization and irrigation indicated that irrigation helped overall SG and percent latewood of fertilized trees to increase to the level of untreated trees. Therefore, this study provides evidence that although fertilization significantly affects several SG-related properties, water availability is beneficial to the fertilization process; over time, an adequate water supply may help fertilized trees to maintain SG levels similar to those of unfertilized trees.
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Keywords: optimal fertilization; specific gravity; water availability; wood properties

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2010

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