Preparing cutover woodland for longleaf establishment
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Preparing Cutover Woodland for Longleaf Establishment. By Larry J. Such NC Division of Forest Resources. “There is a strong, direct, and positive correlation between percent survival and initiation of height growth with intensity of site preparation”

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Preparing Cutover Woodland for Longleaf Establishment

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Preparing Cutover Woodland for Longleaf Establishment

By

Larry J. Such

NC Division of Forest Resources


“There is a strong, direct, and positive correlation between percent survival and initiation of height growth with intensity of site preparation”

(NCFS Forestry Note No. 61, “Establishment and Growth of Longleaf Pine on Droughty Sites in North Carolina, May 1988”


Importance of Site Preparation

“Longleaf pine is a very intolerant species and is difficult to regenerate without effectively controlling competing vegetation”

(“Regenerating Longleaf Pine with Artificial Methods”, USDA, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station, 1989”

“Much of the failure in (longleaf) plantations is due to submarginal nursery stock or inadequately prepared planting sites.”

(“Longleaf Pine Management”, USDA, Forest Service, Forestry Report R8-FR 3, December 1983)


Importance of Site Preparation

“Longleaf . . . will grow best in the complete absence of all competition, . . . ”

(“Silvics of North America”, Vol. 1, USDA, Forest Service, Ag. Handbook 654)

“. . . it is imperative that adequate site prep be completed prior to tree planting . . .”

(Don H. “Zippo” Robbins, 1996 memo to Technical Development Unit)


Site Prep Considerations?


Site Preparation Considerations

  • Landowner’s Objectives & Commitment

  • Why does L/O want Longleaf? Timber? Straw? Wildlife?

  • What level of financial & time commitment does L/O have?

  • Site Quality

  • Good sites require more complete site prep

  • Composition of Previous Stand

  • Was there a hardwood or brush component?

Competition Potential


Site Prep Methods

Mechanical / Heavy Equipment

Herbicides

Prescribed Burning

Hand Tools


Mechanical Site Prep

  • KG / Shear and Pile

    • Expensive

    • High Potential for Site Damage

    • Provides optimum vegetation control

    • Best control when done after full leaf; early to mid summer

    • Can be combined with other treatments such as bedding


For best results

Keep the blade sharp!!


  • Avoid site damage -

  • minimize soil movement / displacement

  • avoid compaction

  • leave the litter layer to minimize evaporation and erosion potential


Site Prepared - KG Sheared, Piled, Bedded


Mechanical Site Prep

  • Drum Chopping

    • Less Expensive than KG / Shearing

    • Less Potential for Site Damage

    • Provides acceptable vegetation control

    • Best control when done soon after full leaf; late spring or early summer

    • Can be combined with other treatments such as burning and / or bedding


Drum Chopped Area


Site Prep - Chopped & Burned


Chopping minimizes soil disturbance


Mechanical Site Prep

  • Bedding

    • Adds more cost to project

    • Provides an elevational advantage

    • Incorporates organic matter in beds

    • Provides additional vegetation control

    • Usually combined with other treatments

    • Beds must be allowed to settle before planting


Savannah Bedding Plow


V-Shear & Bed


Mechanical Site Prep

  • Other Mechanical Methods:

  • Root-Rake & Pile

  • V-Blade

  • Furrowing

  • Discing


Herbicides

  • ground, aerial, by hand

  • soil and/or foliage active

  • tank mix to control species mix

  • usually provides optimum long-term control because it kills the entire plant !!

  • always follow the label


Prescribed Burning

  • used in combination with other treatments (chopping or herbicides) to provide a better level of site prep;

  • helps reduce germination of seeds stored in the litter layer;

  • DOES NOT usually provide sufficient control when used as a single treatment


Burning after chopping or herbicide treatments makes tree planting easier and more likely to succeed!!


Burning removes the litter layer which facilitates planting seedlings at the proper depth


If you plan to plant longleaf, do it right the first time -- don’t scrimp on the site prep. Inadequate site prep will cost more in the long run!!!


Closing Remarks

“First year survival is often more difficult to attain with longleaf pine than with other (pine) species. The seedlings usually remain “in the grass” (stage) for 3 to 5 years, and, . . . Places longleaf at a disadvantage in comparison with other southern pines. It also handicaps longleaf in competition with hardwood sprouts and brush and even grass and weeds, . . . Where height growth is unduly delayed, mortality is likely to continue annually for many years.” * [Source: “Planting the Southern Pines”, Philip Wakeley, USDA -FS, Ag. Monograph No. 18, 1954]


QUESTIONS ???


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