Culture and Density Effects on Tree Quality in Midrotation Non-Thinned Loblolly Pine Plantations
Green, P. Corey
Bullock, Bronson P.
Kane, Michael B.
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Six non-thinned loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) culture × density study sites in the Piedmont and Upper Coastal Plain of the Southeast U.S. were used to examine the effects of two cultural intensities and three planting densities on solid wood potential as well as the proportion and position of product-defining defects (forks, crooks, broken tops). A tree quality index (TQI) was used to grade stems for solid wood potential. The results show that an operational management regime exhibited a higher proportion of trees with solid wood product potential than did a very intensive management regime. Trees subject to operational management exhibited product-defining defects higher on the stem; however, the proportion of stems with defects was not significantly different from the intensive management. Planting densities of 741, 1482, and 2223 trees per hectare (TPH) exhibited a relatively narrow range of the proportion of trees with solid wood product potential that were not significantly different. Density did not have a significant effect on the heights of the product-defining defects. These results show that management intensity and less so planting density, affect the solid wood product potential indicators evaluated and should be considered when making management decisions.