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Nursery Fertilization and Top Pruning of Slash Pine Seedlings

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Top pruning, growing-season fertilization, and fall fertilization were investigated in a Florida nursery to determine the effects on crop yield, morphology, nutrition, and field performance. Top pruning improved crop yield by reducing the number of cull seedlings. Top-pruned seedlings were smaller in diameter, height, and weight and had an increased number of multiple tops. In the field, top-pruned seedlings had the same survival and height growth, and after 3 years the percentage with multiple tops was the same as nonpruned seedlings. From these results, top pruning seems to be a nondetrimental practice for controlling height and producing a uniform crop in the nursery. Reducing growing-season fertilization slightly decreased shoot height, but not as much as top pruning. Also, these seedlings had reduced foliar nitrogen (N) concentration and content and grew less after 1 year in the field indicating that cutting back on N in the nursery may not be a beneficial way to control height. Fall fertilization in the nursery increased N in seedlings but did not affect growth or survival in the field. South. J. Appl. For. 14(2):73-76.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Publication date: 1990-05-01

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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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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