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FIELD EVALUATION OF WOODY PLANT MATERIALS AT DICKINSON BRANCH  EXPERIMENT STATION, DICKINSON, NORTH DAKOTA

Mike Knudson, Forester, NRCS Plant Materials Center

Introduction:
There is a need to evaluate the performance of shrub and tree species/cultivars for windbreaks, wildlife, and recreational plantings under diverse soil and climatic conditions. To meet this need, field evaluation planting sites representative of the major land resource areas were located in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, the three states served by the Plant Materials Center (PMC). These sites provide planting locations under long-term land tenure, for assemblies of trees and shrubs to be evaluated under uniform culture and management. New material can be added on an annual basis. Comparisons are then made with previously released cultivars and area of adaptation determined.

Objective:
The objective is to assemble and evaluate woody plant materials for conservation use. Superior cultivars will be selected and released for increase by commercial nurseries.

Cooperators:
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plant Materials Center, Bismarck, North Dakota, in cooperation with the North Dakota State University, Dickinson Branch Experiment Station, Dickinson, North Dakota.

Location: This project is located one mile west of Dickinson, North Dakota, on the NDSU Dickinson Branch Experiment Station. Legal description: NE1/4 sec. 5, T. 139 N., R. 96 W., Stark County, North Dakota.

Major Land Resource Area:
The site is located in Major Land Resource Area 054, Rolling Soft Shale Plain. This moderately dissected rolling plain is underlain by calcareous shales and sandstones. Strongly dissected areas of sharp local relief or badland topography border major streams and valleys in some areas. Elevation is 1,800 to 3,100 feet. Sixty percent of the area is rangeland.

Soils:
The soil type is a Parshall fine sandy loam. The Parshall series consists of deep, well-drained soils formed in fine sandy loam alluvium on terraces and outwash plains and in upland swales. The surface layer and subsoil is dark grayish-brown fine sandy loam. The underlying material is dark grayish-brown fine sandy loam and loamy fine sand. Permeability is moderately rapid. The available water capacity is moderate. Organic matter is high and fertility is medium.

This soil is in North Dakota windbreak suitability group 5. Included in this group are nearly level to hilly soils of the Flaxton, Lihen, Livonia, Parshall, and Vebar series among others. These are well-drained, loamy and sandy soils. They are suited to windbreak and other plantings, but selection of species is limited. Erosion hazard is serious. The moderate available water capacity is the main limitation.

Climate:
For MLRA 054 the average annual precipitation is 13 to 19 inches; increasing from west to east for this semiarid area. Rainfall is highest from late spring to midsummer and very low during the rest of the year. Winter precipitation is snow. Average annual temperature is 40 to 45 degrees F. Average freeze-free period is 110 to 135 days. The plant hardiness zone is 4a, with an average annual minimum temperature of -30 to -20 degrees F.

Methods and Materials

Assembly:
Refer to the plot map for woody species currently planted at the site.

Planting Plan:
Plots are not randomized or replicated but systematically arranged for ease of evaluation and demonstration purposes. The planting site is approximately 500 feet long and 200 feet wide. The area is divided into five blocks. Each block consists of single row, non-replicated plots. Each plot contains a minimum of 5 plants. Row length is 100 feet and spacing between rows is 20 feet. Block 1A contains primarily poplar accessions. Block 1B contains conifers. Block 2 contains shrubs and small trees. Block 3 contains medium sized trees. Block 4 contains tall trees. Refer to the plot map. All trees are spaced ten feet within row and shrubs are spaced five feet within row. All rows run from west to east. Like species and standards of comparison are established in adjacent plots whenever possible.

Plot Preparation:
A clean, firm planting site is prepared annually by disking and harrowing.

Planting Method:
All trees and shrubs were hand planted using approved forestry methods.

Fertilization:
No fertilizer has been applied to planting area.

Weed Control:
No herbicide has been applied to any plot during year of establishment or in succeeding years. Weeds were controlled by clean cultivating between rows, within row, and in fallow areas. Four to six tillage operations were performed each year in the months of May through August. A minimum of hand hoeing was done to control weeds in rows. Recently, a Weed Badger has been used around the trees.

Pest Control:
Previous years: No animal repellent or insecticide was applied in 1978. In the fall 1979, an animal repellent, Arasan 50, was sprayed on fruit trees to discourage rodent damage.

1980 - 1981: On November 6, 1980, and October 29, 1981, Arasan 50 was applied to the trunks and lower limbs of fruit trees to deter rodents from damaging bark and cambium. Conifers also received this spray treatment to discourage animal browse. No insecticides were applied.

1982 - 1998: No animal repellents or insecticides have been applied.

Irrigation:
Each year, newly planted materials were watered with a portable tank. No water was added following year of establishment. During the drought years of 1988-1991 the trees were watered in the summer.

Crop Residue Management:
During 1990 and 1991 a cover crop was maintained to prevent soil erosion.

Silvicultural Practices:
Extensive pruning was done in 1979-1980 to reshape trees damaged by animals. Dead trees and broken branches were cut and removed each year for sanitation. In 1988, some Russian olive accessions were treated with Tordon, using a hypo-hatchet, with unsuccessful results. In 1989, those treated accessions were cut down, but resprouted. These trees were removed by tractor in 1993.

Evaluations and Measurements:
Records of planting date, survival, vigor, canopy width, height, cold hardiness, animal damage, insect damage, disease symptoms, and unusual or outstanding features have been maintained since 1978. Data does not appear in this report but is available upon request from the PMC.

Results

Plant Performance:
Currently, 84 accessions of 51 species are under evaluation. This site is maintained by the Dickinson Experiment Station. Very little weed competition has occurred within row. A favorable microclimate is provided by surrounding shelterbelts. This undoubtedly reduces exposure to extreme temperatures and winds and desiccation and winter injury. Annual rainfall amounts are similar to Bismarck. The drought years of 1988 and 1989 have severely hampered establishment and performance. With the extended dry weather in 1990 and 1991, the original windbreak of spruce planted on the border died. A number of planted accessions have also died. Generally, the precipitation since that time has been slightly above normal. Many of the trees, especially the poplars have put on considerable growth. The larches have also performed well.

PLOT MAP

 

Block 1A

Block 1B

Block 2

Row 1 14272
poplar
14271
poplar
ND-1729
Siberian
larch
ND-313
red tatarian
honeysuckle
ND-1730
red tatarian
honeysuckle

Row 2

14274
poplar
Manitou
poplar
SL-383-T
Siberian
larch
ND-628
silverberry
Bighorn
aromatic
sumac

Row 3

14392
Walker
poplar
Canam
Walker
poplar
ND-1765
Siberian
larch
ND-26, 452
honeysuckle
ND-170
cotoneaster

Row 4

ND-3796
white
poplar
Raverdeau
poplar
ND-1763
Ponderosa
pine
ND-1565
bristlecone
pine
Bighorn
skunkbush
sumac
Regal
Russian
almond

Row 5

9069170
English
oak
9069090
quaking
aspen
9057413
Ponderosa
pine
9063151
Dahurian
larch
ND-11
amur
honeysuckle
Centennial
cotoneaster

Row 6

9063146
Walker
poplar
Assiniboine
poplar
9069172
Scotch
pine
11737
Siberian
elm
9069128
honeysuckle
 

Row 7

9063141
eastern
cottonwood
9076723
Siberian
elm
408
Siberian
elm
ND-3803
white
poplar
9076737
black
cherry
 

Row 8

9016318
Siberian
elm
9076725
smoothleaf
elm
9076722
European
white birch
9069171
Siberian
elm
9063142
Japanese cherry
 

Row 9

9069164
Scotch
pine
9069168
Siberian
larch
9063148
corktree
ND-21
nannyberry
Homestead
Arnold
hawthorn

Row 10

    9069081
littleleaf
linden
9063126
Japanese
elm
SD-131
mayday
9057438
salt tree

 

Block 1A

Block 1B

Block 2

 

PLOT MAP (continued)

Block 3

Block 4

 
Midwest
Manchurian
crabapple
Red Splendor
crabapple
SD-156
green
ash
ND-1734
green
ash

Row 1

ND-1731
Siberian
crabapple
McDermand
Ussurian
pear
Cardan
green
ash
ND-1759
green
ash

Row 2

Freedom
honeysuckle
9063143
red tatarian
honeysuckle
9008041
false
indigo
Arnolds Red
honeysuckle
ND-647
black
ash
ND-1432
Ohio
buckeye

Row 3

Konza
aromatic
sumac
Scarlet
Mongolian
cherry
‘Legacy’
late
lilac
ND-1879
honeylocust
 

Row 4

Sakakawea
silver
buffaloberry
Magenta
crabapple
9063116
black
ash
 

Row 5

9076726
tatarian
maple
ND-1336
chokecherry
  9063115
green
ash
9076724
Russian
olive

Row 6

        ND-989
Japanese
elm
9069166
Russian
olive

Row 7

ND-1134
plum
  ND-629
amur
maple
  Oahe
hackberry

Row 8

ND-1873
amur
maple
  ND-686
Pekin
lilac
  SD-75
hackberry

Row 9

9069129
amur
chokecherry
    3890
Russian
olive
9057410
hackberry

Row 10

Block 3

Block 4

 

 


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