Effects of soil tillage on soil physical properties and their relationship to early loblolly pine growth
Furtado, Bruno Fernandino
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Although basic relationships between loblolly pine growth and soil physical properties have been established, these have not been found useful for predicting pine growth response to soil tillage under field conditions. Data from 11 experiments, in the Piedmont, Upper Coastal Plain and Flatwoods of the Southeastern USA, were analyzed to investigate early loblolly growth response to operational tillage and its interaction with fertilizer application only, and fertilizer plus herbaceous weed control. The effect of these treatments on the growth response to tillage varied, but generally, the greatest response was to the combination of operational tillage and fertilization plus vegetation control. Overall, soil resistance to cone penetration varied linearly with volumetric water content, and the latter can be used to predict soil resistance based on a small number of penetrometer readings. A proposed Soil Tilth Index was tested and may be a useful tool for forest management decisions.