Methods to Improve Establishment and Growth of Bottomland Hardwood Artificial Regeneration
With ongoing attempts to reforest both cut-over and abandoned agricultural land in the lower Mississippi alluvial plain, it has become evident that there exists a need for an efficient regeneration system that makes biological and economic sense. Also, there is a need to address how to minimize oomoetitkm from invading weeds, to deter predation by small mammals, and to achieve adequate tree establishment. This study was designed as a randomized complete block experiment with treatments arranged as factors (3 species X 2 levels of protection X 4 weed control treatments) wlth three replications. to assess efficacy of seedling protection and weed control to improve seedling growth and survival. The study was conducted on a cleared area in the Delta Experimental Forest, Stoneville, MS. Three tree species, Nuttall oak (Quercus nuttallii Palmer), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.). and persimmon (Diospyros Virginia L) were planted as 1-0 bareroot seedlings in March 1997. Each treatment plot had 25 seedlings, spaced at 0.75 meters X 0.75 meters. Shelter protection was installed on half of the seedlings. Shelters were 1 meter tall, 15 centimeter diameter plastic tree shelters. Each shelter treatment (with or without shelter) received one of four weed control treatments: mechanical mowing (gas-powered weed ctilter), fabric mat (woven, black polypropylene material), chemical herbicide (Oust, suffometurcin-rnethyl at 210 grams per hectare), or undisturbed (control). Response of shelters and weed control treatments on seedling survival, height and diameter were followed for one growing season. Seedlings in shelters had greater survival (98 percent) than seedlings without shelters (93 percent). For all three species, height growth was significantly greater for sheltered seedlings (43 centimeters) compared to unsheltered seedlings (15 centimeters). For the unsheltered seedlings, fabric mat weed control increased survival relative to chemical weed control. All seedlings had significantly greater height and dieter growth under the fabric mat weed control compared to growth under the other treatments except for unsheltered oak seedlings.