Recovery of planted loblolly pine 5 years after severe ice storms in Arkansas
Following a severe ice storm, one of a landowner’s first considerations regarding the future of their damaged stands should be on the recovery potential of injured crop trees. The ice storms that struck Arkansas in December 2000 provided an opportunity to monitor 410 injured loblolly pines (Pinus taeda L.), representing a wide range of damage in 18 –20-year-old plantations. Five-year mortality rates were <3% for trees with low to moderate injury, 16% for major damage, and 55% for critical damage. Of the most seriously affected pines, root-sprung trees had the highest periodic mortality rate (85%). Annualized diameter growth was significantly affected by the tree’s dbh class (positively) and intensity of damage (negatively). This research suggests that pines with low to moderate levels of damage can prove to be acceptable growing stock, whereas critically injured individual trees are not. Trees with major damage could be either retained or salvaged, depending on residual stand stocking, the operability of the salvage, and existing market conditions. Finally, recommendations from this study should enable landowners to better respond to their loblolly pine plantations damaged by ice storms.