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Converting Stands of Low-Grade Hardwoods to Loblolly Pine: Stimulating Growth and Reducing Costs Through Litter Retention

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Conversion of upland, low-grade hardwood stands to pine commonly includes hardwood competition control followed by burning of the site prior to planting. These practices risk erosion of sloped, thin soils. Litter retention provides mulch for newly planted seedlings, potentially increasing soil retention, moisture, and nutrient availability and reducing herbaceous competition without herbicides. This study assessed: (1) litter development, (2) levels of herbaceous biomass and soil moisture, and (3) pine seedling survival and growth resulting from litter retention incorporated into two approaches to stand conversion--inject and plant or underplant and release. A conventional preplant injection and burn prescription was the standard for comparison. When compared with conventional methods, conversion methods with litter retention significantly (1) reduced first- and second-year herbaceous biomass, (2) improved first-year soil moisture, (3) enhanced seedling growth and (4) eliminated the need for burning and first-year chemical reduction of herbs, thereby improving the economics of investment in these poor sites. South. J. Appl. For. 22(3):148-155.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: University of Arkansas at Monticello, School of Forest Resources, P.O. Box 3468, Monticello, AR 71656, (501)460-1052;, Fax: (501)460-1092

Publication date: 1998-08-01

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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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