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Ten-Year Growth and Epicormic Sprouting Response of Western Larch to Pruning in Western Montana

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Abstract:

Western larch (Larix occidentalis Nutt.) is a fast-growing, deciduous conifer that is often managed for timber production in the inland Northwest. No previous study has documented the response of this species to artificial pruning. Trees pruned as part of a pruning cost study in 1992 were followed for 10 years to assess growth and epicormic sprout response. Trees were pruned to two heights: 2.4 and 5.5 m in three stands in western Montana. Epicormic sprouting occurred in a majority of trees in the first 2 years after pruning, but subsequently many sprouts died so that by year 10, only approximately 30% of trees had sprouts. Volume increment was adversely affected by more severe pruning among smaller trees pruned to the shorter lift. The volume increment of the trees that received the 5.5 m lift was generally unaffected, but trees receiving the 2.4 m lift were more sensitive to pruning. Initial tree diameter and residual crown length were important variables in predicting the 10-year volume increment in pruned trees. West. J. Appl. For. 20(4):228–232.

Keywords: Larix occidentalis; environmental management; epicormic sprouting; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; growth response; natural resource management; natural resources; pruning; stand management

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management University of California Berkeley CA 94720-3114 Phone: (510) 643-2025, Email: kristen.waring@nature.berkeley.edu 2: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management University of California Berkeley CA 94720-3114

Publication date: October 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • 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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