Current issue: 53(4)
The impacts of weed control, ash fertilization and their interaction were tested for the afforestation of former agricultural peat-based soil with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in northern Finland in a factorial arrangement of four treatments. Weed control with herbicides was carried out in July 1 and 2 years from planting, and wood ash (5 Mg ha–1) was applied in the spring of the 2nd year. Various vegetation, tree growth and nutrient assessments were made over the 21-year study period. Weed control decreased the weed cover by 36–56 percentage points, vegetation height by 4–26 cm and thus shading of seedlings by vegetation for at least 4 years after planting. For the same period, ash fertilization increased vegetation height by 6–15 cm and shading of seedlings. Weed control reduced seedling mortality by 27 percentage points in 21 years, but ash fertilization had no significant effect. Ash fertilization increased foliar potassium and boron concentrations, but its effect declined, and severe K-deficiency was recorded 21 years after planting. Up to the 9th year, weed control had a greater influence on growth than fertilization. Later the significance of fertilization increased due to an aggravated K-deficiency. Stand volume at year 21 for the untreated control plots was 8 m3 ha–1. Weed control and fertilization increased stand volume by 20 and 35 m3 ha–1, with a combined effect of 55 m3 ha–1. The effects of weed control and fertilization were additive and no significant interactions were found. Due to severe K-deficiencies, re-fertilization of all treatments would be necessary for the continued survival and growth of Scots pine.
The use of a white-rot fungus, Chondrostereum purpureum (Pers. Ex Fr.) Pouzar, as a biocontrol agent against sprouting has been studied with good results. The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of two pre-commercial thinning machines, Tehojätkä and Mense, to spread an inoculum of C. purpureum as a biocontrol agent on freshly cut birch (Betula pendula Roth and B. pubescens Ehrh.), European aspen (Populus tremula L.), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.), and goat willow (Salix caprea L.) stumps (the fungal treatment) and compare that to the control (cutting only, done by Tehojätkä). Efficacy was investigated in terms of stump mortality and the number of sprouts per stump. This study was conducted in one stand and sprouting was investigated for three years after treatment. The fungal treatment resulted in higher mortality of stumps (34.0% for Tehojätkä and 41.5% for Mense after three years), compared to the control (13.4%). However, the fungal treatment did not decrease the number of sprouts per stump compared to the control. The low occurrence of basidiomata indicates that the accuracy of the spreading mechanism was not satisfactory, causing low mortality figures for the fungal treatment compared to previous studies. In the future, this mechanized method may provide a promising alternative in sprout control if the spreading mechanisms, the accuracy of the treatment, and consequently the efficacy could be improved.
Use of fast-growing tree plantations on dedicated areas is proposed as a means of reconciling fibre production with conservation objectives. Success of this approach however requires fine-tuning silvicultural scenarios so that survival and growth are optimized while management and environmental costs are minimized. This is particularly challenging for hybrid larch (Larix × marschlinsii Coaz), a shade-intolerant species planted on fertile sites in Quebec (Canada) where legislation prevents the use of chemical herbicides. In this context, multiple motor-manual release treatments are often required, with high impacts on costs and social issues related to the scarcity of a qualified workforce. We established a split-split-plot design on a recently harvested site to assess the main and interaction effects of mechanical site preparation (MSP) intensity (five modalities of trenching or mounding), motor-manual release scenario (one or two treatments) and planting depth (0–3 cm or 3–10 cm) on hybrid larch seedling growth and survival six years after planting. Mechanical site preparation intensity and planting depth did not influence seedling growth after 6 years. The lack of significant interaction between MSP and release scenarios indicates that these operations should be planned independently. A more intensive MSP treatment cannot replace a second motor-manual release on fertile sites, as proposed to reduce costs. Our results also show the significant advantage of performing two motor-manual release treatments two years apart (the first one early in the scenario), over performing a single treatment. Our study provides silvicultural guidelines for the establishment of high-yield exotic larch plantations.