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Forests 2018, 9(5), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050258

Black Plastic Mulch or Herbicide to Accelerate Bur Oak, Black Walnut, and White Pine Growth in Agricultural Riparian Buffers?

1
Fiducie de Recherche sur la Forêt des Cantons-de-l’Est/Eastern Townships Forest Research Trust, 1 rue Principale, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, QC J0B 2M0, Canada
2
Department of Biology, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 April 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hardwood Reforestation and Restoration)
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Abstract

This study was conducted in a riparian buffer bordering a 1 km segment of a headwater stream crossing a pasture site located in southern Québec (Canada). Three species were planted (black walnut (Juglans nigra L.), bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa Michx.), and eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.)) with three vegetation treatments (control, herbicide (one application/year for 3 years), and black plastic mulch)). The main objective was to determine to which extent herbicide and plastic mulch, used with species having different ecological characteristics, affect tree growth and soil nutrient status in riparian buffers. Survival was high (>93%) for all species in all treatments. In the control (no vegetation treatment), growth was similar among species. Black walnut had the strongest growth response to herbicide and plastic mulch, and white pine had the weakest. For all species, growth was similar in the herbicide and the plastic mulch treatments. During the fifth growing season, plastic mulch increased soil nitrate and phosphorus compared to the herbicide treatment. In the plastic mulch treatment, higher soil nitrate supply was observed for species that preferentially uptake ammonium (black walnut and white pine). Soil nutrient supplies were similar between the control and herbicide treatments. Despite the more favorable nutritional conditions it provides, permanent black plastic mulching does not provide higher growth benefits after 5 years than a 3-year herbicide treatment. The high soil nitrate supply observed in mulched black walnut and mulched white pine may indicate a limited capacity for nitrate phytoremediation by these species. View Full-Text
Keywords: agroforestry; riparian forest restoration; hardwoods; Juglans nigra; Quercus macrocarpa; Pinus strobus; vegetation management; weed control; nitrate; phosphorus agroforestry; riparian forest restoration; hardwoods; Juglans nigra; Quercus macrocarpa; Pinus strobus; vegetation management; weed control; nitrate; phosphorus
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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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Truax, B.; Fortier, J.; Gagnon, D.; Lambert, F. Black Plastic Mulch or Herbicide to Accelerate Bur Oak, Black Walnut, and White Pine Growth in Agricultural Riparian Buffers? Forests 2018, 9, 258.

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