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Effect of Fertilization on Growth and Wood Properties of Thinned and Unthinned Midrotation Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.) Stands

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Growth and wood properties were measured on breast height cores collected from two stands, New Bern and Bertie, located in the lower Coastal Plain of North Carolina. The New Bern site was thinned before fertilizer application, and the Bertie site was not. The study was laid out in a randomized complete block design with each treatment replicated in four blocks at New Bern and two blocks at Bertie. The treatments were different levels of nitrogen fertilization: control (no nitrogen) and 112, 224, and 336 kg/ha. In addition, 28 kg/ha of phosphorus was included with each treatment. The objective of this study was to examine the response in growth and wood properties to midrotation fertilization in a thinned versus an unthinned stand. A significant decrease in latewood specific gravity was observed following nitrogen fertilization in the thinned stand but not in the unthinned stand. Whole ring width, latewood width, and earlywood width significantly increased following nitrogen fertilization at New Bern but not at Bertie. Whole ring specific gravity, earlywood specific gravity, latewood percentage, and earlywood:latewood ratio did not show any change due to fertilization in either stand. Responses in both growth and wood characteristics lasted for 2‐3 years following fertilization and depended on the amount of fertilizer applied and whether or not the site was thinned. The response to nitrogen application was significant for the thinned stand only.

Keywords: mixed-effects model; repeated measure; ring width; specific gravity; wood density

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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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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