Soil change and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) seedling growth following site preparation tillage in the Upper Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States

  • Authors: Lincoln, Chad M.; Will, Rodney E.; Morris, Lawrence A.; Carter, Emily A.; Markewtiz, Daniel; Britt, John R.; Cazell, Ben; Ford, Vic
  • Publication Year: 2007
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 242: 558-568

Abstract

To determine the relationship between changes in soil physical properties due to tillage and growth of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings, we measured soil moisture and penetration resistance for a range of tillage treatments on two Upper Coastal Plain sites in Georgia and correlated these measurements to the growth of individual seedlings. The five tillage treatments were: no-till (NT), coulter only (C), coulter + subsoil (CS), coulter + bed (CB), and coulter + subsoil + bed (CSB). The effects of tillage on soil penetration resistance and volumetric water content were isolated from the potentially confounding effects of tillage on competition and soil fertility by completely eliminating all competing vegetation and by comparing tree response with and without periodic nutrient additions. At the site with a clay B-horizon at the surface, the tillage treatments increased relative height and relative diameter growth compared to the NT treatment during the first season, decreased soil penetration resistance, and decreased volumetric soil moisture (VWC). At the sandy site with a loamy sand topsoil averaging 15–40 cm in depth over a sandy clay loam horizon, bedding, subsoiling and the minimal tillage associated with machine planting increased seedling growth compared to the C treatment. Soil penetration resistance and VWC were greatest in the C treatment, intermediate in the NT treatment, and lowest in the treatments receiving bedding. Soil penetration resistance between 40 and 50 cm ( p = 0.03, r2 = 0.40) was negatively correlated with seedling relative diameter growth at the clay site. Soil penetration resistance between 10 and 40 cm ( p < 0.02, r2 = 0.35) was negatively correlated with seedling diameters at the sandy site. Overall, the positive effects of soil tillage on growth were relatively small (i.e., increases in height and diameter of about 20%). Most of the positive benefits of tillage on growth and soil physical properties were captured with less intensive treatments such as machine planting (sandy site) or the coulter only (clay site).

  • Citation: Lincoln, Chad M.; Will, Rodney E.; Morris, Lawrence A.; Carter, Emily A.; Markewtiz, Daniel; Britt, John R.; Cazell, Ben; Ford, Vic. 2007. Soil change and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) seedling growth following site preparation tillage in the Upper Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 242: 558-568
  • Keywords: Pinus taeda, loblolly pine, tillage, bedding, subsoiling, upper coastal plain
  • Posted Date: October 19, 2007
  • Modified Date: October 23, 2007
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.