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Influence of Microtopography and Soil Treatments on Tree Establishment on a Reclaimed Quarry

Franklin, Jennifer, Buckley, David
Forests 2019 v.10 no.7
Castanea dentata, Pinus echinata, Quercus alba, fertilizer application, fertilizers, microrelief, physicochemical properties, planting, quarries, reforestation, root crown, seedlings, site preparation, soil treatment, stand establishment, tree growth, trees
Research Highlights: Reclaimed minesites provide an opportunity to establish plantings of tree species of special concern, such as the American chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkh.), white oak (Quercus alba L.) and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata Mill.). Background and Objectives: Reforestation success may be influenced by the physical and chemical characteristics of the substrate, which can be manipulated as part of the reclamation process. The objective of this study was to test the effects of three common reclamation treatments on the establishment of the above species on quarry overburden. Materials and Methods: This study tested the influence of lime and fertilizer (100 or 400 kg/ha N) application, loose dumped substrate vs. single pass grading and the resulting microtopography, on the survival and growth of planted 1:0 seedlings over seven years on reclaimed quarry overburden. Results: Grading had a negative impact on the survival of all species. Lime and fertilizer also influenced survival, but effects differed between species. A single application of fertilizer at the time of planting had a lasting and significant influence on the growth of all species. At year seven, across all species, microtopography influenced root collar diameter. The greatest growth was seen on the east upper, and west mid-slope positions. Conclusions: Fertilization and microtopography created by different site preparation techniques at the time of stand establishment can have a significant influence on tree growth over the first seven years.