Title

Effects of pre- and post-harvest spray with glyphosate and partial cutting on growth and quality of aspen regeneration in a boreal mixedwood forest

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Forest Ecology and Management

Volume

262

Issue

7

First Page

1298

Last Page

1304

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

In the boreal forest, conifer release treatments can leave a low quality hardwood component, which does not contribute to healthy, productive mixedwood forests. In this study, the growth and quality of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) regeneration were examined 5–7 years after spraying with glyphosate herbicide before and after harvesting. Results were compared to those from a partial cut and clearcut treatment without herbicide treatments. The preharvest spray treatment effectively reduced aspen density and height but did not lower regeneration quality—assessed by stem and crown deformation and stem stain—compared to the postharvest spray and clearcut treatments. Increased stem stain in the postharvest spray treatment was largely associated with the stem section that grew prior to herbicide application—post-herbicide growth was not affected. While the effect of stem stain may be restricted to growth that occurred before herbicide use, stem deformation from stem dieback may have longer term effects. In the partial cut treatments both density and stocking of aspen regeneration were lower, but aspen basal diameter growth, height growth, and quality were similar to those in the clearcut treatment. Thus, preharvest spray should promote conifer growth by reducing the density and growth of aspen regeneration without reducing the quality of aspen; this should be considered a preferred treatment to support for management objectives calling for productive and healthy mixtures of fast-growing aspen and slow-growing conifers.