Growing cottonwoods for biomass: results of a ten-year irrigation studyThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides Bartr.) has potential as a short rotation alternate crop on marginal farmlands in the South to meet increasing biomass demands for pulp and bioenergy applications. Potlatch Corporation supported this study to investigate the effect of irrigation on the growth of cottonwood trees. The study was installed in the Delta region of AR in 1996. Survival, height, diameter, and biomass production of the various cottonwood clones were compared between the irrigated-bedded treatment and the unirrigated-subsoiled treatment. Several clones were replanted the second year due to poor initial survival. Data are presented for replanted and non-replanted clones. Survival for some clones dropped off greatly after five years. Irrigation with bedding increased volume growth over no irrigation with subsoiling. Growth differences were also apparent among clones within each of the two irrigation treatments. Lower survival sometimes resulted in greater volume growth of the remaining trees. Overall, irrigation increased height, diameter, and volume growth of all clones.