Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 129–141 | Cite as

Influence of mulching and tree shelters on 4-year survival and growth of zeen oak (Quercus canariensis) seedlings

  • Taher Mechergui
  • Marta Pardos
  • Douglass F. Jacobs
Original Paper


We assessed the effect of mulching and tree shelters on the establishment and early growth of zeen oak (Quercus canariensis Willd.) during the first 4 years after planting in Northwestern Tunisia. Five mulch types (Italian Stone Pine (Pinus pinea L.), Lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus L.), and a combination of Italian Stone Pine and Lentisk (organic mulches), gravel (inorganic mulch) and control), and three tree shelter types (non-vented and vented tree shelters, and control) were tested. An increase in the number of internodes occurred under the gravel mulch, while a reduction in survival was found for the lentisk mulch. Tree shelters had no effect on survival, but increased mean height growth and reduced mean diameter growth during the 4 years (excepting a non-significant effect for vented tree shelter at year four). Comparison of the annual shoots and growth units (GU) between sheltered and unsheltered plants according to year of formation revealed two growth phases. In first phase, shoots were totally or partially inside the shelters; mean length of annual shoots and GU were greater for sheltered plants. The second phase was characterized by shoots emerging from shelters; mean length of annual shoots and GU were similar for all plants, with or without tree shelters. Results suggest that the use of tree shelters, particularly vented shelters, could contribute to the improvement of the artificial regeneration of zeen oak. The use of mulching alone or in combination with tree shelters did not improve zeen oak performance in the field.


Zeen oak Mulching Tree shelters Plantation Survival rate Growth 



This research received financial support from the laboratory of silvopastoral resources (Silvopastoral Institute—Tabarka). The authors would like to thank the Tunisian General Direction of Forests (DGF) and their staff in the district of Sejnane for their assistance in all phases of this research, including plant supply and plantation installation. Special thanks are given to Abdel Hamid Smeti and Rabeh Marii for facilitating planting.


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taher Mechergui
    • 1
  • Marta Pardos
    • 2
  • Douglass F. Jacobs
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculté des Sciences de BizerteLaboratoire des Ressources Sylvo-Pastorales (Institut Sylvo-Pastoral de Tabarka)SejnaneTunisia
  2. 2.Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y Tecnologia Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), Centro de Investigacion ForestalMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration CenterPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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