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Influence of surface and subsurface tillage on soil physical properties and soil/plant relationships of planted loblolly pine

By D. L. Kelting and H. L. Allen


Soil tillage can improve tree survival and growth by reducing competing vegetation, increasing nutrient availability, improving planting quality, and improving soil physical properties. The authors conducted a tillage study with competition control and nutrient amendments to isolate the physical effects of tillage on tree growth. The objectives of this study were to understand: (1) how tillage affects soil physical properties; (2) the relationships between these properties and root growth; (3) linkages between root growth response and aboveground growth; and (4) tillage effects on aboveground growth. Four replicates of a 2x2 factorial combination of surface (disking) and subsurface (subsoiling) were installed on a well-drained, clay-textured subsoil, soil located on the Piedmont of North Carolina. Disking improved soil physical properties (reduced bulk density and increased aeration porosity) in the surface 20-cm of soil. Subsoiling improved soil physical properties at all depths in the planting row, with improvements still noted at 60-cm from the planting row in the surface 10-cm of soil. Rooting patterns followed the changes in soil physical properties. Despite improvements in soil physical properties and changes in rooting patterns, aboveground tree growth was not affected by tillage. The results of this study point to the need for better diagnostics for identifying sites were tillage is appropriate in situations where fertilization and vegetation control are planned. Potential factors to consider are presence and abundance of old root channels, soil shrink/swell capacity, soil structure, presence and depth to root restricting layers, and historical precipitation records

Topics: Vegetation Control, Roots Soil Tillage, Aboveground Growth, Fertilization, Pines, Subsoiling, Root Growth, Soils, Tree Survival, Soil Tillage, Soil Chemistry, Disking, 60 Applied Life Sciences, Plant Growth
Publisher: North Carolina State University
Year: 2000
DOI identifier: 10.2172/758307
OAI identifier:
Provided by: UNT Digital Library
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