The effects of tillage intensity on soil physical properties and their relationship to loblolly pine seedling growth
Lincoln, Marion Chad
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The amount of tillage necessary to improve pine seedling growth is important to consider when the expense of soil tillage may not justify gains in growth offered by tillage practices. To determine the relationship between changes in soil attributes associated with differing tillage intensities and growth of loblolly pine seedlings, I measured soil moisture, nitrogen availability, and soil strength on different tillage treatments on three different sites in the Upper Coastal Plain in southwest GA. The five tillage treatments were: no-till, coulter, coulter + subsoil, coulter + bed, and coulter + bed + subsoil. I monitored individual seedlings and measured soil attributes adjacent to these seedlings and correlated these measurements to seedling growth. Tillage increased rootability by decreasing soil strength and increasing porosity and these changes were associated with increased seedling growth. The less intensive tillage treatments may be as effective at improving soil physical characteristics and seedling growth as more intensive tillage treatments.