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Evaluation of Physical Barriers to Protect Ponderosa Pine Seedlings from Pocket Gophers

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A 2 yr study on the Rogue River and Mt. Hood National Forests in Oregon evaluated physical barriers for protection of Pinus ponderosa seedlings against damage by Thomomys talpoides. Seedlings protected with one of three weights of: (1) plastic mesh tubing (Vexar®) or (2) sandpapertubing (Durite®) were evaluated against control seedlings. On the Rogue River sites, Vexar® seedlings had the highest survival (62.6%), followed by the controls (59.1%), then Durite® seedlings (17.9%). Gophers were the primary cause of death for the Vexar® seedlings, versus desiccation for the Durite® seedlings. On the Mt. Hood sites, heavyweight Vexar® seedlings had the highest survival (35.4%), medium-weight Durite® seedlings the lowest (2.7%). Seedling mortality caused by gophers was highest for controls (70.2%), followed by light-weight (62.2%) and heavy-weight (53.9%) Vexar® treatments. Overall survival was low (Rogue River = 42%, Mt. Hood = 19.8%). Growth was greatest for the control seedlings but only significantly greater than growth of Durite® seedlings on the Rogue River sites. Growth of seedlings was not compromised by the Vexar® tubing. Although neither type of tubing was highly protective, Vexar® tubes performed better than Durite® tubes. West. J. Appl. For. 14(3):164-168.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 LaPorte Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80521-2154

Publication date: July 1, 1999

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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