Different types of planting stock and, in particular, containerized seedlings are used when artificially regenerating oak forests by planting. Thus, improving of agricultural techniques for establishing and growing stands (including optimal initial density) is a relevant issue and needs further research.
It is difficult to determine an optimal initial tree density as numerous factors have to be taken into account in each case.
The aim of the research was to determine how the initial density and type of planting stock (containerized and bare-root seedlings) influence upon the main stand indicators and health condition of the 11-year-old English oak stands growing in fresh fertile site conditions in the southern part of the Left-Bank Forest-Steppe of Ukraine.
Materials and Methods
The research was carried out at the stationary multivariate trials in the Derhachi Forestry in the State Enterprise “Kharkiv Forest Research Station”, Kharkiv region, Ukraine.
A total of seven experimental variants of English oak stands established with container-grown seedlings were laid out. English oak stand established by bare-root seedlings was used as a control.
The stand indicators of the research variants were analysed according to the generally accepted methods and regulatory documents in forestry, forest planting and forest mensuration.
English oak stands established with containerized seedlings in all experimental variants were found to have greater height (by 8–38 % (0.3–1.7 m)) and larger diameter (by 10–38 % (5–18 mm)) as compared to the control.
Oak stands had good health condition in all experimental variants. The average health condition index of plantings in the experimental variants ranged within 1.1–1.5, and in the control its value made 2.0.
The largest part of English oak of the first health condition category (“healthy”) – 88% of the total number – was recorded in the variant with 6 x 1.0 m planting pattern, and the smallest part – 22% – was found in the control.
A matter of improvement of the norms for initial density and recommendations on the use of containerized planting stock when establishing and cultivating forest stands for various purposes remains a topical issue. The findings of the research can make the basis for the development of such recommendations.
The results of the research show that English oak stands established with container-grown seedlings had higher stand indicators (average height and average diameter) and better health condition at the age of 11 years as compared to the stands established by bare-root seedlings.
The optimal planting pattern for establishing English oak forest stands with containerized seedlings is 4 x 1.0 m with initial stands density of 2.5 thousand trees per ha.
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