Title

NITROGEN FERTILIZER EFFECTS ON BLACK CHERRY (PRUNUS SEROTINA EHRH) REGENERATION IN ALLEGHENY HARDWOOD FORESTS

Date of Award

4-13-2018

Semester of Degree

May

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Major Professor

Dr. Russell Briggs

Steering Committee Member

Dr. Todd Ristau

Steering Committee Member

Dr. Robert Long

Steering Committee Member

Dr. Christopher Nowak

Abstract

Declining nitrogen inputs in the soil profile from the Clean Air Act Amendment (CAAA) may be responsible for the decrease in black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh) vigor in Allegheny Hardwood Forests. A low rate of 3.39N kg/ ha fertilizer was applied to five treatment plots to replicate the amount of nitrogen missing in the soil profile and a high rate of N and P-fertilizer was applied to three additional plots. The treated plots were compared to control plots and pre-treatment plots in 2015 and 2016. For both fertilizer rates, new red maple seedlings significantly increased in control and fertilized plots in 2016. In the high N-fertilized sites, black cherry seedlings (0.3 to 0.9m) significantly increased and new birch seedlings significantly decreased. Sites with black cherry advanced regeneration can keep black cherry in the mix by adding relatively higher levels of fertilizer which reduces birch seedling establishment and favors other species.

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