Title: Mulching to regenerate a harsh site: effect on Douglas-fir seedlings, forbs, grasses, and ferns
Author: McDonald, Philip M.; Fiddler, Gary O.; Harrison, Henry R.;
Source: Res. Paper PSW-RP-222. Albany, CA: Pacific South-west Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 10 p
Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)
Description: Douglas-fir seedlings on the Arcata District, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, in central coastal California, were planted in an effort to restore the natural forest to what was then pastureland. Douglas-fir seedlings were released from a complex forb-grass-fern plant community by applying very large (10-ft square) and very small (2-foot square) durable mulches one month after planting. The large mulches were installed directly over the existing plant community, and the small mulches were applied over a similar-sized scalp. Two-foot-square scalps and an untreated control provided additional comparisons. After five growing seasons, stem diameter (measured at 12 inches above mean groundline) of Douglas-fir seedlings with large mulches was 1.61 inches, and of seedlings with small mulches was 1.36 inches. Only seedlings with large mulches were significantly larger than counterparts with small scalps (1.22 inches) or in the control (1.26 inches) after 5 years. In spite of high cost, the promising role of large mulches for establishing fast-growing Douglas-fir seedlings on a harsh site and the increased stability and sustainability that the future trees will bring to the more natural plant community give large mulches a place in the toolkit of ecosystem managers.
Keywords: central California, Douglas-fir seedlings, herbaceous species, mulches, plant community dynamics
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McDonald, Philip M.; Fiddler, Gary O.; Harrison, Henry R. 1994. Mulching to regenerate a harsh site: effect on Douglas-fir seedlings, forbs, grasses, and ferns. Res. Paper PSW-RP-222. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 10 p
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