n Southern African Forestry Journal - The impact of vegetation control on the establishment of pine at four sites in the summer rainfall region of South Africa : scientific paper

Volume 2001, Issue 192
  • ISSN : 0038-2167



Four trials designed to study the impact of intensive, selective and commercial vegetation control (operational) practices on pine establishment were implemented across an altitudinal and climatic range of sites in the summer rainfall region of South Africa. The trial sites incorporated one high altitude (1650 m a.s.l.) cool temperate site, two mid-altitude (1000 m a.s.l.) warm temperate sites and a low altitude (60 m a.s.l.) sub-tropical site. Treatments implemented at each trial included a weedy and a weedfree control, operational weed control, selective control of herbaceous or woody vegetation types as well as a ringweeding treatment at three sites. The results indicate that the abundance and type of vegetation at a site varies as a function of the local physiographic and environmental conditions as well as historical land-use. At the high altitude site the competitive vegetation was less abundant than at the mid-low altitude sites where vigorous woody vegetation dominated. Due to the differential growth of vegetation across the sites, tree growth responses to intensive and selective vegetation control were site dependent. There were no significant tree growth responses to vegetation management at the high altitude site. Relative to the weedfree control, tree growth suppression was highest on the weedy and woody treatment plots at the warmer, mid-low altitude sites. No significant suppression of tree growth occurred where the vegetation was kept away from the trees, on the ring-weeded and operational treatment plots. Herbaceous vegetation caused significant tree growth suppression only where climatic conditions were conducive to extended seasonal growth.

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