Comparing large containerized and bareroot conifer stock on sites of contrasting vegetation composition in a non-herbicide scenario
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- Thiffault, N., Jobidon, R. & Munson, A.D. New Forests (2014) 45: 875. doi:10.1007/s11056-014-9443-7
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Planting stock selection is an integral part of plantation management, as forest nursery practices influence the physiological status of the seedlings and their capacity to cope with resource availability on different planting sites. We thus compared the 11th-year dimensions and survival of large white spruce (Picea glauca) and black spruce (P. mariana) seedlings produced as 2 + 2 bareroot or 2 + 0 container stock (cell volume of 350 cm3), used to reduce the need for competition control. Using complete split-block designs, we evaluated the seedling competitive potential and response to mechanical release on two sites of contrasting ecological fertility and vegetation dominance in Quebec, Canada. We found that large spruce seedlings can be successfully established on high-competition sites in a context where chemical herbicides cannot be used. These stock types had a limited impact on survival and growth, and both stock responded similarly to mechanical vegetation control. In this context, the choice of stock type should prioritize the highest quality large seedling based on operational considerations such as availability and ease of transportation. Mechanical site preparation was not necessary to promote seedling growth and survival on these sub-boreal sites.