Frequent pinestraw raking and removal in pine plantations has led to concerns about nutrient removal from the stand. While soil chemistry of raked stands has been studied, little attention has been placed on potential compaction from raking operations. Four treatments were applied to a 16-year-old loblolly pine plantation at the Louisiana State University AgCenter Calhoun Research Station in Calhoun, LA: 1) No Rake and No Fertilizer, 2) Rake and No Fertilizer, 3) Rake and Commercial Fertilizer, and 4) Rake and Poultry Litter. Surface soil cores were sampled to assess treatment effects on soil bulk density, total porosity, moisture content, air-filled porosity, organic matter, and available water holding capacity. Raking significantly compacted the surface soil. Poultry litter significantly increased the soil moisture content over that of the commercially fertilized treatment. The unraked and unfertilized treatment and the commercially fertilized treatment had significantly greater air-filled porosity compared to the other two treatments. Raking with commercial fertilizer significantly reduced soil organic matter content from that of the control, but only from 0 to 2 inches depth. Trafficking effects from raking and fertilization operations are likely responsible for compaction effects on surface soils.
Patterson, William B.; Blazier, Michael A.; Hotard, Steven L. 2010. Pinestraw raking, fertilization and poultry litter amendment effects on soil physical properties for a mid-rotation loblolly pine plantation In: Stanturf, John A., ed. 2010. Proceedings of the 14th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS 121. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 43-46.