Mechanical site preparation and oust XP effects on stem biomass in three-year-old nuttall oak seedlings planted on a former agricultural fieldThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Mechanical site preparation is frequently proposed to alleviate problematic soil conditions when afforesting retired agricultural fields. Without management of soil problems, any seedlings planted in these areas may exhibit poor growth and survival. Seeding height and groundline diameter are often used to evaluate effects of site preparation methods, but stem biomass may provide a more appropriate assessment of treatment effect in some circumstances. Four mechanical site preparation and two post-plant Oust XP® treatments were utilized in an attempt to evaluate resulting stem biomass differences. Mechanical site preparation treatments included a control, subsoiling, bedding, and combination plowing. A 1-year Oust XP® treatment was applied over one half of treatment areas. A 2-year treatment of Oust XP® was applied on the remaining half. A total of 1,440 bare-root Nuttall oak (Quercus texana Buckley) seedlings were planted in February 2008 on Malmaison Wildlife Management Area near Grenada, MS. All sites were of comparable soils and received above average precipitation for the majority of the 3-year duration of the study. Treatment effects on stem biomass were analyzed. Seedling stems in bedded and combination plowed areas exhibited greater woody biomass (210.25 g and 198.62 g, respectively) compared to seedlings in control or subsoiled areas (139.88 g and 118.9 g, respectively). Seedlings in areas treated with 2 years of Oust XP® exhibited greater stem biomass (202.71 g) compared to seedlings in areas treated with the 1-year Oust XP® treatment (131.11 g).