Home Native Plant Network Journal Articles Density and development of bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) in forest plantations as affected by manual and chemical application

Native Plants Journal - Article

Density and development of bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) in forest plantations as affected by manual and chemical application

Abstract:

Logging disturbance on 5 study areas (forest plantations) in
northern California favored development of bracken fern
(Pteridium aquilinum [L.] Kuhn var. pubescens L.Underw.), which can be an impediment to successful eforestation.
Velpar herbicide (hexazinone)offered short-term control of
vegetation, including bracken fern, sufficient to establish ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws. var. ponderosa)
seedlings and ensure vigorous growth. Our examination of site
preparation techniques, including burning residual logging debris followed by chemical and mechanical control of vegetation, indicated that bracken fern density, foliar cover, and height
were highly variable both within and among study areas. After 5 growing seasons, bracken density in the control (site preparation only) ranged from 5800 to 40850 fronds/ha (2345 to
16530 fronds/ac), foliar cover from 1% to 24%, and height from 0.5 to 0.6 m (1.8 to 1.9 ft). Among conifer release treatments (control of unwanted vegetation), Velpar effectively controlled bracken, but Garlon herbicide aided bracken by killing competing shrubs. After 10 growing seasons, more than 22000 bracken fronds/ha (8910/ac) were present in all treatments. Bracken fern demonstrated remarkable ecological amplitude, was virtually independent of other species, and was only moderately influenced by a wide range of environments. Growers and planters should be aware of these findings and use herbicides that show demonstrated effectiveness.

Issue & Pages:

Spring 2003 Pages: 52-60

Article Download:

4-1NPJ52-60.pdf (PDF document)

Authors:

  • Philip M McDonald
  • Celeste S Abbot
  • Cary O Fiddler

Keywords:

ecology, conifer plantations, interference, northern California, ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa

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