Stocktype and vegetative competition influences on Pseudotsuga menziesii and Larix occidentalis seedling establishment

Jeremiah R. Pinto, Bridget A. McNassar, Olga A. Kildisheva, Anthony S. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca (Mayr) Franco), and western larch (Larix occidentalis Nutt.) are species of ecological and commercial importance that occur throughout the Western United States. Effective reforestation of these species relies on successful seedling establishment, which is affected by planting stock quality, stocktype size, and site preparation techniques. This study examined the effects of container volume (80, 130, 200, and 250 cm3) and vegetative competition on seedling survival and physiological and morphological responses for two years, post-outplanting. Glyphosate application (GS) and grass planting (HC) were used to achieve low and high levels of competition. For all measured attributes, the container volume × vegetative competition was not significant. Mortality was strongly influenced by competition, with higher mortality observed for Douglas fir and western larch planted in HC plots one (28% and 98%) and two (61% and 99%) years following outplanting. When competition was controlled, seedlings of both species exhibited greater net photosynthesis (> 9 μmol m-2 s-1), greater predawn water potential (> -0.35 MPa), and lower mortality (2-3%) following one year in the field, indicating establishment success. The 80 cm3 stocktype remained significantly smaller and exhibited lower growth rates for the duration of the study, while all other stocktypes were statistically similar. Our results demonstrate the importance of controlling vegetative competition regardless of stocktype, especially for western larch, and suggest that benefits to post-planting seedling physiology and growth in relation to container size plateau beyond 130 cm3 among the investigated stocktypes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2018


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