Eleven-year effects of mechanical site preparation on oaks planted on former agricultural fields
Mechanical site preparation is often prescribed as a tool for correcting soil condition problems encountered when planting former agricultural fields. While the impact of mechanical site preparation on early growth and survival of young oak seedlings is well-known, there is a shortage of information regarding the longer-term effects of these treatments. Four hundred and eighty, 1-0 bare-root seedlings each of Nuttall oak (Quercus texana Buckley), Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii Buckley), and swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii Nutt.) seedlings were planted in February 2008 on a retired agricultural site in northwest Mississippi. Four site preparation treatments were utilized, with 160 seedlings of each species per species/mechanical treatment combination, totaling 1440 seedlings for the study. Mechanical site preparation included control, subsoiling, bedding, and combination plowing treatments applied on 3.1 m row centers. Eleven-year diameter (DBH), total height growth (HT), height-to-live crown (HTLC), and survival data were recorded in early 2019. Treatment effects were analyzed, and significant differences were not detected for tree survival. However, differences were observed in the DBH, HT, and HTLC averages of swamp chestnut oak and the DBH of Shumard oak.