Title:  White-tailed Deer Forage Responses to Understory Hardwood Control in Mature Pine Stands
Author(s): James R. Welch and Karl V. Miller, University of Georgia; and William E. Palmer, Tall Timbers Research Station
Year: 1999
Abstract: We assessed potential use of imazapyr (Arsenal®), mowing, chopping, and burning alone and in combination to control hardwood understory in "open" pine stands in the Red Hills region of south Georgia and north Florida. Two independent sites and study designs were used to evaluate treatment response. On Tall Timbers Research Station, we used a blocked design with 3 blocks and each of 7 possible treatment plots (0.75ha/plot) replicated once per block (burn, herbicide, herbicide+burn, mow, mow+burn, chop, and chop+burn). On Foshalee Plantation, 14 plots, varying in size from 2 - 8ha, were selected at random, treated with imazapyr during October 1997, and burned the spring of 1998. Plots at both locations were sampled systematically pre- and post- treatment during the summers of 1997 and 1998. Plant species were ranked according to deer preference based on previously published rankings. At 1 year post-treatment, herbaceous, vine and woody vegetation considered to be preferred by deer was lowest on herbicide and herbicide+burn plots. Ragweed, a highly preferred deer forage, was most abundant on herbicide and herbicide+burn plots but did not differ in abundance on other treatment plots. Overall, preferred deer forage was less abundant on herbicide treated plots than on other treatment plots. Although herbicide treatments had lower amounts of deer forage at 1 year post-treatment, the dramatic reduction of hardwood sprouts on these plots likely will result in higher forage abundance in subsequent years.

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