Site preparation and phosphorus application alter early growth of loblolly pine
Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) was grown on three sites with a series of site preparation treatments and differential applications of herbicide to determine the impact of site preparation on early growth and nutrition of trees without the interaction of woody competztzon. The study sites were poorly, somewhat poorly, and moderately well-drained soils of the lower Atlantic Coastal Plain in South Carolina. One year after planting, treatments of no fertilizer, phosphorus, potassium, and phosphorus plus potassium were applied to each site preparation plot. Five years after planting, the tallest pines (12 to 15 feet) were on plots that had received the most expensive and most intensive treatment (bedding, phosphorus fertzlzzer, and a small amount of herbicide), but growth was good (10 to 13 feet) on plots that had received the least expensive and least intensive treatment as well (preparation with hand tools, no fertilizer, and a larger amount of herbicide). Growth was poorest (7 to 10 feet) on plots that had been rootraked and had received a medium amount of herbicide. Foliar nutrient data also indicated that rootraking was site degrading.