An 8-year field comparison of naturally seeded to planted container Pinus taeda, with and without release
Abstract:A field study compared genetically improved, container loblolly pines (Pinus taeda L.) with naturally seeded loblolly pines through eight growing seasons on a cutover site in southern Arkansas, U.S.A. Measurement pines on 6 of 12 plots were released from woody and herbaceous competition within a 61-cm radius of each tree stem. On natural pine plots, only 1st-year pine seedlings were selected for measurement based on quality standards and their spacing. Woody competition was controlled by hand cutting for5 consecutive years, and herbaceous competition was controlled with herbicides for 4 consecutive years. Release treatments increased year survival by 50% for natural pines and by 35% for planted pines. Greater gains(343-391%)in individual tree volumes were achieved within regeneration techniques, as a result of release, than were achieved with the two regeneration techniques. In addition, stand volume gains of 647% and 910% were achieved by planted and natural pines, respectively, as a result of release. Eight years after field establishment, stand volume index averaged 46% higher on planted plots than on natural plots. Degree of overtopping was a better predictor of pine performance than live-crown ratio.