Soil carbon and soil physical properties response to incorporating mulched forest slash
A study was installed in the Lower Coastal Plain near Washington, NC, to test the hypothesis that incorporating organic matter in the form of comminuted forest slash would increase soil carbon and nutrient pools, and alter soil physical properties to favor pine growth. Two sites were selected, an organic and a mineral site, to compare the treatment effects on the different soil types. The mulching treatments included a surface broadcast mulch, a surface strip mulch, and a strip mulch and till. On the mineral site, the three treatments resulted in general decreases in soil bulk density, gravimetric soil water content, and soil strength. Soil carbon and nitrogen increased for all the treatments on the mineral site, with some significant differences between the treatments. The broadcast mulch and bed treatment resulted in an almost 100 percent increase in soil carbon and nitrogen. On the organic site, the treatments did not have a significant effect on soil physical properties or soil carbon and nitrogen. There was a consistent decrease in soil carbon and nitrogen on this site, but these changes were not significantly different from those in the control treatment.