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Influence of Different Tillage Systems and Weed Treatments in the Establishment Year on the Final Biomass Production of Short Rotation Coppice Poplar
Chair of Forest Growth, Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str. 4, Freiburg D-79106, Germany
Centre for Agricultural Technology Augustenberg (LTZ), Kutschenweg 20, Rheinstetten D-76287, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 August 2013; in revised form: 19 September 2013 / Accepted: 15 October 2013 / Published: 24 October 2013
Abstract: In this study the influence of three different tillage systems in combination with eight varying weed treatments applied within the establishment year and its effect on the final above ground leafless biomass production (after the third growing season) of short rotation coppice poplar is presented. The three tillage systems included variants with ploughing and harrowing, variants with cultivation and ley cropping and variants without tillage. Weed treatments included the application of different herbicides, but also more environmentally sound variants such as mulching and the use of mulch materials to avoid the use of herbicides. To estimate the influence on final biomass production, regression analysis was undertaken using DBH as the predictor variable. Based on 1056 DBH measurements the biomass production of the different variants was compared. The interactions of tillage system and weed treatment on biomass yield were found to be statistically significant. Between tillage systems the ploughing variant displayed a better overall performance than the cultivation with ley crop variant and the variant without any tillage. Differing weed treatments reveal greater success for the whole area application of herbicides than band application, both being better than the use of mulch materials. These results suggest that the right tillage system in combination with effective chemical weed control is the key to the successful establishment of Short rotation coppice (SRC) poplar plantation following the principles of an integrated weed management approach. Furthermore, ecological variants such as ploughing in combination with the use of mulch materials and mechanical vegetation control between the rows could be a solution to reduce dependence on chemical control. However, this comes at the expense of a considerable loss in yield.
Keywords: SRC; short rotation coppice; plantation establishment; biomass; herbicide; weed control; poplar
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Morhart, C.; Sheppard, J.; Seidl, F.; Spiecker, H. Influence of Different Tillage Systems and Weed Treatments in the Establishment Year on the Final Biomass Production of Short Rotation Coppice Poplar. Forests 2013, 4, 849-867.
Morhart C, Sheppard J, Seidl F, Spiecker H. Influence of Different Tillage Systems and Weed Treatments in the Establishment Year on the Final Biomass Production of Short Rotation Coppice Poplar. Forests. 2013; 4(4):849-867.
Morhart, Christopher; Sheppard, Jonathan; Seidl, Frieder; Spiecker, Heinrich. 2013. "Influence of Different Tillage Systems and Weed Treatments in the Establishment Year on the Final Biomass Production of Short Rotation Coppice Poplar." Forests 4, no. 4: 849-867.