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Individual Highlight

Soil Condition Affects Longleaf Pine Seedlings More Than Loblolly Pine Seedlings

Photo of Longleaf pine seedlings grow in soils compacted at different levels and held at different moisture contents in the greenhouse. Andy Scott, USDA Forest ServiceLongleaf pine seedlings grow in soils compacted at different levels and held at different moisture contents in the greenhouse. Andy Scott, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Restoring longleaf pine forests to previously disturbed soils, especially those that have been compacted by past management, can have problems. This research helped us quantify how similar or dissimilar longleaf pine seedlings are to loblolly pine seedlings, which researchers and managers are very familiar with.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Scott, Andy 
Research Location : Pineville, LA and Laurel, MS
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 716

Summary

Longleaf pine is being restored across the southern United States for several ecological and economic reasons, but scientists' understanding of longleaf pine's response to soil physical conditions is poor. On the contrary, their understanding of loblolly pine's root and shoot growth response to soil conditions is well established. Forest Service researchers compared loblolly and pine seedlings to see if their root systems functioned similarly. The amount of roots in a given volume of soil was about 35 percent greater in longleaf pine seedlings compared to loblolly pine seedlings. Roots decreased at about the same rate that soil compaction increased. Root growth decreased in both wet and dry soils, as we expected. This research indicates that young longleaf pine seedling root systems respond more negatively to extremes of soil physical conditions than loblolly pine, and compacted soils might need to be tilled for good root growth. This research also helps scientists know how much poor soil conditions affect longleaf and loblolly pine roots.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Chicksawhay Ranger District, Desoto NF, Mississippi
  • Jim Burger, Virginia Tech