Growth and Competition Response in Intensively Established Loblolly Pine Plantations at Crown Closure

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Chemical and mechanical applications to improve pine growth, decrease time to canopy closure, and increase yields are applied to much of the 18 million hectares of pine plantations in the southeastern United States. Although these treatments are known to increase pine productivity, it is not clear whether treatment effects will persist to canopy closure. Therefore, we examined the response of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) growth and competing vegetation with various levels of plantation establishment intensity in southern Mississippi to evaluate the effectiveness of establishment regimes at crown closure. Although differences in dbh were reduced compared with those reported for years 3‐5, the most intensive treatment combination of chemical and mechanical site preparation plus 2 years of broadcast herbaceous weed control maintained a height advantage through year 8. Chemical site preparation provided greater long-term control of woody competition than mechanical site preparation. However, hardwood competitors present at canopy closure probably will not pose a threat to future pine growth in any treatment. Pine height growth to crown closure appeared to benefit mainly from an additional herbaceous weed control application. Combined chemical and mechanical site preparation appeared to be unrelated to faster growth at this period, and managers may wish to limit costs by using a single method only.

Keywords: forest management; herbicide; intensive management; pine growth; pine plantation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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