Title:  Quality of vegetation in a pine plantation.
Author(s): Kinard, F. W., Jr
Year: 1977
Abstract: Commonly occurring plants in a pine plantation in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina were analyzed for phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium and crude protein. Mineral and crude protein levels varied with plant species and season. There is need for qualitative and quantitative base-line data in understanding wild animal nutrition (Larson 1967). Foliage of eleven plant species, red maple (Acer rubrum), pepperbust (Clethra alnifoliq), gallberry (Ilex la bra), (les~edeqsp p.), stagger-bush (Lvonia mariana), grass (Panicum spp.), loblolly pine (Pinus teade), bracken fern (Pteridium aauilinum), running oak (Quercus ~umila),b lackberry and dewberry (Rubus spp.), and blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), occurring in the understory of a pine plantation was analyzed for phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K) and crude protein. (Footnote: Botanical names follow those given by Radford et al. (1973)). The study area was in the lower Coastal Plain on Westvaco Timberlands Division's Erskine Tract in Jasper County, South Carolina. This study was an attempt to compare nutrient content of plant species occurring in a pine plantation. (Footnote: The author wishes to thank Nicholas M. Berenyi, PhD, Senior Research Chemist, Westvaco Corporate Research Center, for the vegetation and soil analyses. Natural timber stands of longleaf (Pinus palustris), slash (Pinus elliottii), and pond (Pinus serotina) pines were clearcut at a rotation age of thirty years. Site preparation included mechanical treatments of shearing-off all remaining stems (Burns and Hebb 1972) and bedding (Lennartz and McMinn 1973). The study area was reforested in 1971 with approximately 1,600 loblolly per ha. Soil was sampled according to the procedures described by Crutchfield (1971). Analyses were by the "North Carolina" method (Olsennladean 1965) and aliquots of the extract were used to determine available P, Ca, Mg, and K. Phosphorus was determined by the ascorbic acid modification of the ammonium molybdate method described by Coleman Instruments Corporation (1966), and cations (Ca, Mg, K) by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Total-nitrogen was determined by the Dumas method, based on sample combustion followed by quantitative recovery and measurement of liberated nitrogen gas (N2) as described by Fitts and Berenyi (1966). Electrometric measurement of pH was in a 2:l aqueous soil slurry. Two plots, each 0.005 ha in size were established in 1975 approximately 30 meters apart. Foliar samples were collected randomly from the top one-third of commonly occurring plants on May 29 and September 11, 1975. Representative samples by plant species were stripped from twigs, cleaned of debris, oven dried at 70C for 24 hours and sent to the Westvaco Corporate Research Center. (Footnote: Westvaco Corporate Research Center, Laurel, Maryland.) In the laboratory, foliage was re-dried at 70C for two days and ground in a Wiley-mill equipped with a 20-mesh screen. The ground material was ashed in a muffle furnace at 500C. Ashes were digested in concentrated HCI, and diluted to standard volume. Aliquots of the solution were tested by P, Ca, Mg and K. Total-nitrogen, phosphorus and cations (Ca, Mg, K) were determined by the methods described previously. Table 1 gives the results of foliar analysis in May and September for P, Ca, Mg and K, reported as percent of dry matter by weight. Crude protein is the percent nitrogen multiplied by a factor of 6.25. The soil type was Ocilla loamy sand. By analysis, the soil was found to have a N content of 0.05 percent. The mineral levels expressed as kg/ha were as follows: P 7.88, Ca 214.63, Mg 47.63 and K 82.38. Mineral and crude protein levels by plant species seem useful in determining nutritional value of forage. In the Coastal Plain of South Carolina, many natural pine stands have been reforested with loblolly. Intensive site preparation may affect the composition, quality and quantity of vegetation (Schultz and Wilhite 1974). Deer diet varies by region and with the method of timber regeneration (Crawford et al. 1975). The sampled plant species do not necessarily represent the most desirable forage but those frequently occurring in the study area. There was a wide range in mineral and crude protein levels for the eleven plant species sampled in the study area. Mineral and crude protein levels seem to vary by both plant species and season.

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