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Influence of weeds on the water potential nutrient content and growth of young radiata pine pinus radiata

Influence of weeds on the water potential nutrient content and growth of young radiata pine pinus radiata

Australian Forest Research 10(3): 279-288

The effects of weed control on subsequent weed growth and on the needle water potential, nutrient uptake and growth of young radiata pine (P. radiata (D. Don)) during the months after transplanting were examined under 2 contrasting environments typical of the southeastern region of South Australia. Despite unusually high Nov. rainfall during the experiments, pines in weedy plots were severely water stressed by early Jan., having very low needle water potentials which persisted until early April. Drought, induced by weeds, caused up to 40% mortality in transplants. Weed growth also reduced the nutrient concentration in the needles. Complete weed control resulted in 10 to 140-fold increases in stem volume, depending on the site, 17 mo. after transplanting. Application of moderate amounts of atrazine and amitrole resulted in a relative dominance of sorrel (Rumex angiocarpus) over grass and other re-emerged weeds. Such changes in botanical composition of weed cover directly influenced the needle water potential in pines. Percentage cover and specific composition of weeds may be useful measures to assess the degree of drought likely to be experienced by young pines.

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Accession: 005695898

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