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Midrotation Vegetation Control and Fertilization Response in Pinus taeda and Pinus elliottii across the Southeastern United States

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We examined fertilization (224 and 56 kg ha−1 of elemental nitrogen and phosphorus, applied as urea and diammonium phosphate, respectively) and vegetation control (one-time site-specific application) in a 2 × 2 factorial design with three or four replicates at each site on 13 sites (10 in Pinus taeda and 3 in Pinus elliottii). Nitrogen and phosphorus limited pine growth on seven sites where we found significant volume growth responses to fertilization in at least one measurement period. Five sites had significant volume growth responses to vegetation control in at least one measurement period. Biologic response treatment order was fertilizer plus vegetation control > fertilizer > vegetation control. The combined treatment effects were additive, indicating that resources other than nitrogen and phosphorus were being ameliorated by the vegetation control. Vegetation control response was not related to estimates of competing vegetation basal area, and its duration was likely limited by regrowth of competing vegetation on some sites. Competing vegetation leaf area was proposed as a good metric by which to estimate the extent of interference of noncrop vegetation. We recommend that future work examining vegetation control focus on a process approach to better understand the influences of competing vegetation on crop tree growth.
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Keywords: nutrition; resource availability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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