Fires that completely remove the surface organic layer usually provide good seedbeds for black spruce. Slash removal by broadcast burning or full-tree skidding is also beneficial (8,26). Seedling mortality seems to be highest on burned duff and lowest on some moss and mineral soil surfaces with an adequate moisture regime.
Seedbed scarification increases stocking. Under optimal climatic conditions, direct seeding on these scarified surfaces results in seedlings representing 10 to 30 percent of the sown seed (25,56). A sowing of 79,000 seeds per hectare (32,000/acre) should result in at least 60 percent milacre (4.05 m² or 43.56 ft²) stocking of seedlings, which is considered satisfactory (26). Spring sowing results in the best germination and survival, and viability is drastically lowered if germination does not occur during the same year (13,56). Germination is epigeal (42).
Nursery-grown transplants (2-2) survive better, grow faster, and are more economical than seedlings (3-0) when black spruce plantations are established (34,35). Average initial height growth of black spruce seedlings varies from 2.5 cm (1 in) per year on moss to 15 cm (6 in) per year on some mineral soil substrates, but annual growth may be as low as 5 mm (0.2 in).
- Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods. Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
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