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Initial Growth of Irrigated Hybrid Poplar Decreased by Ground Covers

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Four ground covers were compared with bare soil for their effects on the growth of irrigated poplar trees from 1997 through 1999 at the Malheur Experiment Station near Ontario, OR. Stem cuttings of hybrid poplar (deltoides × P.nigra , clone ‘OP-367’) were planted in April 1997 at a 14 × 14-ft spacing. Ground cover treatments consisted of (1) bare soil maintained with a preplant herbicide and cultivations, (2) mowed weeds, (3) wheat (aestivum) between tree rows, (4) alfalfa (sativa) between tree rows, and (5) squash (maxima) between tree rows. The field was irrigated uniformly using micro sprinklers along the tree rows. Wood volume at the end of September in 1997 and 1998 was significantly greater for the bare soil than any ground cover. By the end of September 1998, wood volume in bare soil plots was more than 100% greater than in mowed weed plots, and almost 50% greater than in squash plots. During the third growing season, the incremental growth of wood volume was similar among the bare soil treatment, mowed weeds, and the plots that had previously been planted to squash but remained bare in the third year due to closure of the tree canopy. Without consideration of the economic value of cover crops, results suggest that, in eastern Oregon, poplar wood volume during the first three years is the greatest when the ground is kept bare.West.J. Appl. For. 17(2):61–65.
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Keywords: Hybrid poplar; alfalfa; diameter; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; granular matrix sensor; ground cover; irrigation; natural resource management; natural resources; soil water potential; squash; tree height; volume growth; wheat

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Malheur Experiment Station, Oregon State University, Ontario, OR, 97914

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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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 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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