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Thinning Ponderosa Pine Affected by Armillaria Root Disease: 40 Years of Growth and Mortality on an Infected Site in Central Oregon

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Portions of a 30-year-old stand of ponderosa pine were precommercially thinned in 1966 and commercially thinned in 2000 at age 64 years to determine the effects of thinning from below on tree growth and mortality caused by Armillaria root disease in central Oregon. Thirty years after precommercial thinning, leave-tree mortality was significantly less in thinned plots than in unthinned plots, but leave-tree‐diameter growth was not significantly increased by thinning. Leave-tree basal area (BA) per acre growth, however, was significantly greater in thinned plots. In 2007 at age 71 years, 7 years after commercial thinning of the same plots that were precommercially thinned in 1966, leave-tree mortality was less in thinned plots than in unthinned plots, but more time probably is necessary to adequately assess Armillaria-caused mortality after commercial thinning. Both tree diameter and BA growth were significantly increased by commercial thinning. Hypotheses on fungal-host dynamics are discussed, and recommendations for multiple thinning based on stand density index are given.
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Keywords: Armillaria ostoyae; Pinus ponderosa; stand density index

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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