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Elevation, competition control, and species affect bottomland forest restoration

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This experiment examined how elevation and control of early successional vegetation would affect the growth and survival of tree species used in restoration. Vegetation was controlled by either mowing or spraying with Accord [glyphosate,-(phosphononomethyl)glycine, in the form of its isopropylamine salt] herbicide. These control methods were applied to either the entire plot or a narrow 1-m strip where seedlings were to be planted. A fifth treatment (control) had seedlings planted into the existing vegetation. Species planted were baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), willow oak (Quercus phellos), Nuttall oak (Q. nuttallii), overcup oak (Q. lyrata), and cherrybark oak (Q. falcata var. pagodaefolia). Seedlings were randomly planted in late April 1993 with six rows in each plot and six trees per row on a 2×2 m spacing with five replicate plots per treatment. Survival was not enhanced by any competition control treatment, but survival among species differed. All six species had overall survival>90% in autumn 1993. Species survival was affected by several summer floods during 1994. Baldcypress and overcup oak survival was greater than 89%, while water tupelo, Nuttall oak, and willow oak were all approximately 70%, and cherrybark oak was only 29%. By the end of 1995, survival of all species decreased further, but the species groupings remained the same. Survival and height growth of baldcypress and water tupelo were greatest at lower planting elevations. At higher elevations, survival of cherrybark oak and willow oak were greatest, while overcup oak and Nuttall oak were unaffected by elevation. Thus, controlling the herbaceous vegetation did not affect survival or growth as much as relative planting elevation due to site flooding and the flood tolerance of the species. All of the species in this experiment except cherrybark oak were successfully established.

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McLeod, K.W., Reed, M.R. & Wike, L.D. Elevation, competition control, and species affect bottomland forest restoration. Wetlands 20, 162–168 (2000).[0162:ECCASA]2.0.CO;2

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