volume: 43, issue:
The ability of deciduous trees to sprout efficiently after cutting is problematic in young forests where the target is to cultivate coniferous trees for industry. Since the use of chemicals has been restricted, new alternatives are needed. One potential and environmentally friendly option is biological sprout control that is based on the use of a white-rot fungus, Chondrostereum purpureum (Pers. Ex Fr.) Pouzar. This method has been efficient in earlier investigations when performed manually, but efficient, fully mechanized devices which are able to cut and treat stumps with a fungus are still unavailable. Therefore, the efficacy of biological sprout control conducted with a Cutlink cleaning head equipped with a spreading feature was studied in two young Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) forests in central Finland.
Sample plots for the control (cutting deciduous saplings only) and fungal treatment (cutting and spreading fungal inoculum on fresh stump surfaces) were established, and the ability of the Cutlink cleaning head in preventing sprouting of silver and downy birch (Betula pendula Roth and B. pubescens Ehrh., respectively) in the sample plots was investigated for two years.
In the near vicinity of cultivated Norway spruce, the proportion of cut deciduous saplings varied from 50–60% after the Cutlink operation. The average mortality of silver and downy birch stumps in the fungal treatment plots was ca. 40%, while stump mortality in the control, i.e., cutting only, was only ca. 13%, after two years. Stump mortality increased up to 73% if the stumps did not include old branches, i.e., the stump was cut to a low enough height.
These results confirmed that the Cutlink cleaning head is a potential tool in young stand management operation but further development will be needed in working methods in order to achieve lower stump heights (no branches on the stump) and also to increase the proportion of cut saplings.