Impacts of various intensities of site preparation on Piedmont soils after 2 years
Six levels of site preparation were applied to replicated 0.8-hectare plots at the Hitchiti Experimental Forest on the Piedmont Plateau in central Georgia. Treatments ranged in intensity from handclearing to shearing and chopping to rootraking and disking with fertilization and herbicides. Soils were sampled before treatment applications and after 1 and 2 years. Composited bulk samples from 0-2015 and 15-60cm were analyzed for texture, pH, organic matter, and available phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Six core samples (0-6cm) per plot were used to determine bulk density, available moisture holding capacity, and total pore space. The early trends of soil impacts are: 1) soil organic matter and available nutrients are not different among treatments; 2) pH of surface soils increased slightly with increasing intensity of treatment in the first year; and 3) bulk density significantly decreased with disking while pore space increased.