Relation of mechanical site preparation to oak abundance, pine growth, and fusiform rust incidence in a slash pine plantation

Belanger, R.P.; Miller, T.; Schmidt, R.A.; Allen, J.E.

General Technical Report Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service ( SRS-1): 122-125


Accession: 003254527

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Water, laurel and bluejack oak (respectively, Quercus nigra, Q. laurifolia, Q. incana) are the most prevalent oak species in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Georgia and Florida, and are recognized as being important alternate hosts in the spread of fusiform rust (Cronartium quercuum f.sp. fusiforme [C. fusiforme]). This study determined the origin, abundance, and development of oaks associated with four mechanical site preparation treatments (low, low-moderate, moderate-high and high intensity) in S.-central Georgia. First-year measurements showed that high intensity was the most effective treatment, reducing the number of oak rootstocks by 79% and the projected crown area by 92%. Chopping (low intensity) was the least effective treatment with a 25% reduction in rootstock and a 74% reduction in projected crown area. From the first to the fourth growing season, the number of rootstocks per acre did not change significantly within treatments. However, the projected crown area of susceptible oaks increased greatly over time. The crown area increased 19, 105 and 111% in the second, third and fourth years across all treatments. During the fourth year, hardwoods were competing with planted pines (Pinus elliottii), and oaks were a potential source of abundant rust inoculum in all treatment plots. Total height and rust incidence on planted slash pine were measured after the third, fourth, and fifth growing seasons. Results indicate that in high-rust hazard areas, rust incidence appears more closely related to the height growth of pines than to the abundance of on-site oaks.