Low Environmental Impact Establishment of Hybrid Poplar Plantation
Agroforestry can provide an environmentally friendly alternative to row crops on marginal lands.
Objective: To establish a hybrid poplar plantation using only mechanical means for weed control to reduce environmental impact on lands in a sensitive waterfowl area.
The producer established test plots on 10 acres of marginal row crop land to evaluate three different hybrid poplar cultivars. Planting was conducted using a 10- by six-foot grid pattern to facilitate mechanical weed control.
Results: Trees planted in the spring got an excellent start with weeds controlled by cultivation. The trees showed the benefits of non-chemical weed control, exhibiting significant growth from August through October. They grew four to six feet high by November. After the second year, the canopy formed by the trees will eliminate the weed competition, and no further cultivation will be required. Plans are to harvest trees for pulp at 10 years of age when they reach 10 to 12 inches in diameter.
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