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Scalping Reduces Impact of Soilborne Pests and Improves Survival and Growth of Slash Pine Seedlings on Converted Agricultural Croplands

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Field studies in northern Florida over 2 yr confirmed an association between certain soilborne agricultural pests and the first-year failure of slash pines (Pinus elliottii Engelm. var. elliottii) on recently converted agricultural croplands. Whitefringed beetles (Graphognathus spp.) and the charcoal root rot fungus (Macrophomina phaseolina [Tassi] Goid.), were associated, respectively, with up to 99 and 30% of the seedling mortality in individual study fields. Whitefringed beetles were the dominant pests in Florida's western panhandle, but M. phaseolina assumed an apparently more important role in the more drought-vulnerable sands of north-central Florida. The involvement of other soilborne insects, fungi, and plant parasitic nematodes appeared less important, but is not dismissed. Prescriptive treatments including carbofuran and benomyl root dips, soil-incorporated diazinon insecticide, methyl bromide soil fumigation, topically applied chlorpyrifos insecticide, band applications of sulfometuron and atrazine herbicides, and scalping varied in efficacy with respect to reducing pest damage and improving seedling performance. With the exception of one instance where seedlings grown in methyl bromide-treated soil performed best, seedlings in scalped rows consistently survived and grew better than seedlings in all other treatments. Across five study sites, seedlings in scalped rows averaged 83% survival, 54 cm in height, and 1.0 cm in groundline stem diameter after 1 growing season. Seedlings in check rows were among the poorest performers, averaging only 62% survival, 46 cm in height, and 0.8 cm in groundline stem diameter. Herbicide-treated seedlings performed similarly, averaging 60% survival, 46 cm in height, and 0.9 cm in groundline stem diameter. South. J. Appl. For. 19(2):49-59.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, R-8 FPM, P.O. Box 2680, Asheville, NC 28804

Publication date: 1995-05-01

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