Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 2, 2004
Publication Date: June 14, 2004
Citation: Brauer, D.K., Burner, D.M., Looper, M.L. 2004. Effects of tree configuration on the understory productivity of a loblolly pine-forage agroforestry practice. American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings. 13:412-416. Technical Abstract: Vast portions of the southeast United States are suitable for pine-forage agroforestry practices; however, data are lacking or limited regarding optimum designs. The objective of this research was to assess the effects of loblolly pine tree configuration on the growth of a mixture of tall fescue and bermudagrass 6 to 8 years after tree establishment under optimum soil fertilization regime. The experiment (conducted near Booneville, AR) consisted of 6 treatments: an open control; 3 uniformly spaced tree configurations at plant densities of 1,360, 680 and 300 seedlings/acre; and 2 tree configurations in which trees were grouped in 4 or 5 rows with wider alleys at an average planting density of 680 and 330 seedlings/ acre. Forage was harvested twice annually, May and September. Forage yields at both harvests declined with increasing tree density. There were substantial differences in annual forage production when comparing yields in the multiple tree-row configurations to that of the uniformly spaced tree configurations at the same planting density. Tall fescue was the dominant species independent treatment in May. Botanical composition in September varied with tree configurations in such a way that tree canopy cover was inversely related to forage yield and the fraction of the stand as bermudagrass. These results suggest that aggregating loblolly pines into multiple rows may be a viable option for agroforestry systems because of the increased forage production.