The Open Forest Science Journal


ISSN: 1874-3986 ― Volume 7, 2014

Growth and Soil Nutrient Responses to Stocking Rate and Nitrogen Source for Mid-Rotation Loblolly Pine in West-Central Arkansas

The Open Forest Science Journal, 2010, 3: 9-16

David M. Burner, Daniel H. Pote, Charles T. MacKown, E. David Dickens

USDA-ARS, 6883 South State Hwy. 23, Booneville, AR 72927, USA.

Electronic publication date 20/7/2010
[DOI: 10.2174/1874398601003010009]


Fertilization is needed to replace nutrients removed from pine straw plantations, but tree response to fertilization could be influenced by stocking rate. Our objective was to determine effects of three N fertilizer sources on loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) growth and pine straw yield as a function of stocking rate (trees ha-1, TPH) at about midrotation (12-14 years post-planting). Commercial mineral fertilizer (CF), poultry litter (PL, 5.4 Mg ha-1), and pelletized poultry litter (PPL, 4.6 Mg ha-1) were applied once in April 2006 at 0 (control) and 200 kg ha-1 of N at plantation stocking rates of 2300, 1200, and 970 TPH near Booneville, AR. Basal area (range 32.6 to 42.8 m2 ha-1) was very high and did not respond to fertilization, and pine straw yield also did not consistently increase with fertilization compared to the control. Concentrations of pine straw N and foliar N increased with fertilization, especially with CF compared to litter. Topsoil NO3 --N and NH4 +-N were greater for CF than PL and PPL 3 mo after fertilization, but responses ≥ 9 mo after application did not differ from the control. While the plantations were able to acquire N, overstocking seemed to constrain N utilization for increased BA or foliage production. Thinning should improve tree growth and pine straw yield responses to fertilizer applied at mid-rotation.

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