Herbicide Hardwood Crop Trees Release in Central West Virginia

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Virginia Tech

Repeated partial cutting in the Appalachian hardwood region has often favored the development of tolerant species like American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) and stands with a high proportion of cull trees. Crop tree release is a widely recommended practice to improve species composition and growth rates in these unevenaged structured stands. Chemical control offers some distinct advantages from the standpoint of safety and residual stand damage, over mechanical methods. Control of American beech was the primary focus of this study. Beech is a low value timber tree, normally considered difficult to control. It is a major competitor to more valuable trees, especially on better sites in the Appalachians.

Research plots were established in hardwood stands at three sites in central West Virginia to evaluate the effectiveness of glyphosate (Accord), imazapyr (Arsenal AC and Chopper), and triclopyr (Garlon 3A and Garlon 4) using the hack-and-squirt application method and low volume basal spray treatments. In the injection treatments .051 fl oz (1.5 ml) of solution was used per inch of diameter (dbh). The basal spray treatments used 0.101 fl oz (3 ml) of solution per inch of diameter. The following concentrations were used: Accord (65.2%), Arsenal AC (7.5%), Garlon 3A (50%), Garlon 4 (26.25%), and Chopper (6.25% ). These concentrations were determined by using the highest costing injection and basal treatment at the lowest recommended labeled rate as standards, Garlon 3A and Chopper respectively. Eighteen 0.1 acre plots were systematically located at each study site where crop trees were present and to maximize the number of American beech on each plot. Crop trees, mostly black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.) were chosen on a 0.025 acre subplot established at each plot center. All beech two inches and larger on the 0.1 acre plots and competing trees touching crop trees were treated in June 1998. The treatments were evaluated in September of 1998 and again in June of 1999. A numerical rating system ranging from 1-7, (0-100% crown affected), which utilized visual symptoms, was used to evaluate the efficacy of each treatment. Trees receiving a rating of 5 (75 % crown control) or greater were considered controlled. The relationship between the kinds of herbicide, application method, and numerical rating were analyzed by means of one-way analysis of variance with an incomplete random factorial design.

The most effective treatments for the three month evaluations were the Accord and Garlon 3A injection treatments. Average beech crown control ranged from 95-99% for Accord to 96-99% for Garlon 3A across all study sites. The basal spray treatments were not effective. Average crown control ranged from 1-22%, across all study sites. Accord, Garlon 3A, and Arsenal AC were the most effective treatments for the 12 month evaluations, with average beech crown control ranging from 99-100% across all study sites. The imazapyr treatments (Arsenal Ac and Chopper) had adverse effects on the crop trees and are not recommended for hardwood crop tree release. The cost effectiveness based on treatment costs and the amount of basal area (BA) controlled were averaged for all study sites. The average treatment costs based on the 12 month evaluations expressed in dollars/ft2 BA controlled were as follows: Accord ($0.91), Garlon 3A ($1.04), Arsenal AC ($0.84), Garlon 4 ($15.09), and Chopper ($7.74). NE-TWIGS was used to predict future composition and value of the projected stands. The stem injection treatments decreased the amount of beech and increased the amount of black cherry sawtimber thereby dramatically increasing the future value of the stands. Real rates of return were calculated for the stem injection (8.81%) and low-volume basal spray (-0.81%).

Black cherry, Fagus grandifolia, American beech, Crop tree release, triclopyr, glyphosate, imazapyr, Prunus serotina