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Soil Scarification Shortly before a Rich Seed Fall Improves Seedling Establishment in Seed Tree Stands of Pinus sylvestris

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The effect of timing of soil scarification on establishment of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in relation to amount of seed fall was studied in two seed-tree stands in central Sweden. The seed trees were released in autumn 1989. The treatments were: (i) scarification the autumn following cutting and before a seed fall expected to be poor; (ii) scarification in autumn 2 yrs after release, before a seed fall expected to be rich; and (iii) no soil preparation (control). Seedling establishment, mortality and height growth were monitored for 7 yrs from the start of the experiment. After 7 yrs, the seedling density was highest (c. 69 000 ha-1) in the area where soil scarification preceded a rich seed fall, whereas scarification immediately after cutting resulted in 34000 seedlings ha-1. The frequency of plots (size 3.14 m2) without seedlings was 5 and 7.5% where scarification was made before the rich seed fall and before the poor seed fall, respectively. Unscarified plots showed the poorest result according to number of seedlings (6000 ha-1) and number of plots without seedlings (52.5%). There was no significant difference in mortality of germinated seedlings between treatments. Height growth was significantly improved by scarification. The time elapsed since scarification clearly affected seed germination: The germination percentage of viable seeds dispersed on exposed mineral soil varied from 28.6% in the first year following scarification to 0.8% in the 7th year. The mean germination percentage in unprepared humus (control) was only 0.9% during the monitored period.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-10-13

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