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    Stand thinning is being tested as a means to limit the impacts of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA; Adelges tsugae Annand) on eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere). The efficacy of this strategy may be reduced if thinning increases hemlock foliar nutrients because HWA densities are correlated with foliar concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, and Mn. We determined foliar N, P, K, Ca, and Mn concentrations in 1-year-old and all other (older) needles prior to and for 4 years after thinning in northwestern Pennsylvania stands of eastern hemlock without HWA. Average foliar concentrations in 1-year-old needles were 1.30–1.80 g N·100 g−1, 1300–1700 mg P·kg−1, 4200–6300 mg K·kg−1, 2500–5200 mg Ca·kg−1, and 2393 μg Mn·g−1. N, P, and K decreased, Ca increased, and Mn first increased and then stabilized. Thinning by itself did not affect the tested foliar nutrients. The interaction between treatment and year was significant and evident in temporal trajectories of foliar N and K. However, the differences between thinned and unthinned plots within years averaged only 0.03 g N·100 g−1 and 340 mg K·kg−1. We concluded that even though thinning changed the temporal trajectories of foliar N and K, the nutritional shifts were minimal, brief, and unlikely to affect the efficacy of thinning in limiting the impacts of HWA.

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    Piatek, Kathryn B.; Fajvan, Mary Ann; Turcotte, Richard M. 2017. Thinning effects on foliar elements in eastern hemlock: implications for managing the spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 47(1): 81-88.


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    eastern hemlock, foliar elements, foliar nutrients, thinning, hemlock woolly adelgid

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