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Vigor and Growth Responses of Sugar Maple and Yellow Birch Seedlings According to Different Competing Vegetation Types and Fabric Shelter Use

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To increase the likelihood of a plantation's success it is important to develop proper techniques and understand the limiting ecological factors on species in relation to regional conditions. Experiments were conducted in young plantations of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton) in a northern temperate climate. We assessed the efficiency of using a fine mesh fabric shelter and the effects of different types of competing vegetation (none, herbaceous, or woody) to determine the best practices to implement for the success of hardwood plantations. Despite a possible loss of seedling robustness (increased stem etiolation), the use of shelters was beneficial for seedling vigor and growth (increased height and diameter). For both species, herbivore damage was also generally reduced by shelters. Control of herbaceous vegetation competition appeared essential during the early stages of plantation establishment. The optimal management of woody competing vegetation requires further assessment to see if the positive effect of improving bole quality compensates for the negative effect on growth. For the purpose of wood quality production, investments in shelter use and strategic management of competing vegetation must be weighed financially.

Keywords: hardwood plantations; seedling protection; strategic competing vegetation management

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-09-01

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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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