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Acid-base status of upper rooting zone soil in declining and non-declining sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) stands in PennsylvaniaAuthor(s): William E. Sharpe; Troy L. Sunderland
Source: In: Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Fosbroke, Sandra L. C., ed. Proceedings, 10th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 1995 March 5-8; Morgantown, WV.: Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-197. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 172-178
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Northeastern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (870.6 KB)
DescriptionSugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) is an important commercial tree species of the central hardwood region which is valued for its wood and maple sugar products. High elevation sugar maple stands in northcentral Pennsylvania have been in serious decline for about the last 15 years with more than 1,200 hectares of maple forest affected. The decline appears to be largely irreversible, leading to the death of the affected trees. Stands at lower slope positions remain generally healthy. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of soil conditions in causing sugar maple decline by studying the acid-base status of soils, plant available soil aluminum and the relative differences in soil Al toxicity to maple seedling roots in declining (47-79 percent mortality) and non-declining (~10% mortality) stands. The acid-base status comparisons for the upper rooting zone (A, B1, B21 horizons) of soils of the sugar maple stands under study are reported here. Five declining and five non-declining stands in close proximity to one another were sampled with soil samples taken from the side walls of hand-excavated shallow soil pits in each stand. The samples were analyzed at the Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University for pH (water paste), and exchangeable Ca, Mg, K and P. Percent base saturation was also calculated. Results indicated that soils from the declining stands had significantly lower exchangeable Ca, Mg and K than the non-declining stands. pH and base saturation were also consistently lower in the declining stands while P was higher. The significance of these differences in acid-base status as a predisposing factor in the observed sugar maple decline requires additional study.
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CitationSharpe, William E.; Sunderland, Troy L. 1995. Acid-base status of upper rooting zone soil in declining and non-declining sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) stands in Pennsylvania. In: Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Fosbroke, Sandra L. C., ed. Proceedings, 10th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 1995 March 5-8; Morgantown, WV.: Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-197. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 172-178
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