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Forests 2015, 6(4), 1061-1082;

Mid-Rotation Silviculture Timing Influences Nitrogen Mineralization of Loblolly Pine Plantations in the Mid-South USA

Hill Farm Research Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Homer, LA 71040, USA
Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 1927, Normal, AL 35762, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Heinz Rennenberg
Received: 3 February 2015 / Revised: 15 March 2015 / Accepted: 30 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitrogen and Phosphorus Nutrition of Trees and Forests)
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Intensively managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations often develop nutrient deficiencies near mid-rotation. Common silvicultural treatments for improving stand nutrition at this stage include thinning, fertilization, and vegetation control. It is important to better understand the influence of timing fertilization and vegetation control in relation to thinning as part of improving the efficiency of these practices. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of fertilization and vegetation control conducted within a year prior to thinning and within a year after thinning on soil N supply in mid-rotation loblolly pine plantations on a gradient of soil textures. Net N mineralization (Nmin) and exchangeable N were measured monthly. Fertilization increased annual Nmin at all sites irrespective of timing relative to thinning, with the increase more pronounced when combined with vegetation control. This finding suggests some management flexibility in the timing of mid-rotation fertilization relative to thinning for increasing soil N supply. However, the site with the highest total soil N and the lowest C:N ratio was more prone to NO3-N increases after fertilization conducted pre- and post-thinning. At all sites, fertilization with vegetation control promoted increases in NO3-N when done after thinning, which may indicate that this practice increased soil N supply to levels that exceeded stand N demand. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrogen; herbicide; thinning; fertilization timing nitrogen; herbicide; thinning; fertilization timing

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Blazier, M.A.; Scott, D.A.; Coleman, R. Mid-Rotation Silviculture Timing Influences Nitrogen Mineralization of Loblolly Pine Plantations in the Mid-South USA. Forests 2015, 6, 1061-1082.

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