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Stem Sinuosity, Tree Size, and Pest Injury of Machine-Planted Loblolly Pine with Bent versus Straight Taproots

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Twenty-four machine-planted stands of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) of ages 3 to 10 yr were sampled near Athens, GA, to compare stem sinuosity, tree size, and pest injury of trees with bent versus straight taproots. Based on a 0- to 8-point index, the average level of stem sinuosity was medium (X = 2.6; n = 1,327 trees). Trees of high or low stem sinuosity index were identified near each of ten points per site, and one was selected to best represent each level (n = 240 pairs). Seventy-two pairs were excavated, and of these, 62 and 82 trees had bent and straight taproots, respectively. Levels of stem sinuosity were medium or high for 77% of trees with bent taproots, while they were low for 71% of trees with straight taproots (chi-square P = 0.001). Trees with bent taproots were 7% to 9% smaller in stem diameter and height, while their stem sinuosity index was over twice that of trees with straight taproots (P ≤0.01). Taproot azimuth did not differ significantly (P > 0.20) from planting row azimuth, indicating that bent taproots from machine planting remained confined to the planting slit. Although biological mechanisms were not identified, results indicate a potentially problematic association between bent taproots and reduced stem quality of loblolly pine. South. J. Appl. For. 23(4):197-202.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Georgia Forestry Commission, Macon, GA 31298

Publication date: November 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • 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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