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Response of Black Spruce to Thinning and Fertilization in a Drained Swamp

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A split-plot design experiment replicated in four blocks was established to determine the effects of thinning (main plots) and fertilization (subplots) on growth of a 50- to 60-yr-old stagnant stand of black spruce on a shallow peatland (swamp) in Alberta drained in the previous year in a large-scale experimental project to convert it to a future merchantable stand. The thinning treatments were selective hand-spacing to 1600 trees ha-1 and no thinning. The hand-broadcast fertilizer treatments were: no fertilizer, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), NP, PK, NK, and NPK. Nitrogen as NH4NO3 was applied at 200 kg ha-1, P as triplesuperphosphate at 100 kg ha-1, and K as potassium chloride at 100 kg ha-1. After six growing seasons, diameter at breast height, basal area, and volume growth were significantly greater in the thinned treatment than for the same number of large (dominant and codominant) trees in the unthinned treatment. Thinning had no significant effect on height growth. Nitrogen significantly increased dbh, height, basal area, and volume growth, and NP increased the basal area and volume growth. P, K, and PK treatments showed little effects on growth, and P applied alone tended to reduce growth. The results indicated it will be beneficial to supplement drainage with thinning or fertilization with N and N-containing fertilizers or with both shortly after drainage, particularly when other researchers have indicated black spruce may take several years to respond to drainage. North. J. Appl. For. 15(2):98-105.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Alberta Environmental Protection, Land and Forest Service, Forest Management Division, 9920-108 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2M4

Publication date: 1998-06-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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