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The Effect of Weed Control Method on Soil Nutrient Availability and Growth of Different Hybrid Poplar Clones

Hangs, R. D., K.J. Greer and W.R. Schroeder. 2006. Soils and Crops

Abstract

During the early establishment phase outplanted hybrid poplar seedlings are the most vulnerable to lethargic growth or mortality because of interspecific competition with non-crop plant species for available soil moisture and nutrients. Consequently, there is a need to develop practical weed control practices that are not only successful at controlling non-crop plant species, but also cost-effective for producers looking to minimize their input costs. The objectives of this two-year study were to: i) evaluate the effects of different combinations of in-row (plastic mulch, herbicide, and control) and between-row (tillage, herbicide, and control) weed control practices on soil nutrients bioavailability and the early growth of four hybrid poplar clones (Walker, Assiniboine, WP-69, and Hill) and, ii) assess the relationship between growing season soil nutrient supply rates, measured using in situ burials of ion-exchange membrane (Plant Root Simulator™-probes), and growth of different hybrid poplar clones. Determining the effects of different weed control practices on growth-limiting edaphic properties and subsequent seedling growth should help to support effective management strategies, in terms of selecting an efficacious and cost-effective weed control strategy that promotes the establishment and growth of hybrid poplar seedlings, while minimizing the input costs incurred by the producer.

Key Words

hybrid poplar, nutrient supply rate, Plant Root Simulator™-probes, weed control