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Restoring Longleaf Pine on an Agricultural Site by Planting Alternating Rows of Slash Pine: A Case Study

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The cost of establishing longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) on agricultural sites is typically higher than that for slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii Engelm.). For some landowners, this cost might be reduced by establishing a two-species plantation (e.g., planting one-third to one-half of the rows with slash pine). To examine the potential benefits of a mixed-species stand, a replicated trial was established at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in Alabama in 1997. Longleaf pine and slash pine were planted in alternating rows spaced 10 ft apart (within-row spacing varied from 4 to 8 ft). Initial survival of bareroot stock was <10% for longleaf pine but >75% for slash pine. Therefore, all bareroot longleaf pine seedlings were removed, and plots were replanted using container-grown longleaf pine. Fifth-year survival of the container-grown stock was >45%, but subsequent competition from adjacent rows of slash pine reduced survival to 20% by the age of 12 years. An estimate of the value of products from the mixed-species stand at the age of 12 years was $867/ac greater than that from the pure longleaf pine stand (planted at a 4 × 10-ft spacing). Results from this trial suggest that for a mixed-species stand to be successful in restoring longleaf pine, either the spacing between rows should be much wider than 10 ft or the ratio of longleaf pine to slash pine seedlings should be greater than 1.3 (either at planting or at a young age).
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Keywords: Pinus elliottii; Pinus palustris; bareroot; container; economics; seedling quality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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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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