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Forest Fertilization Guidebook Table of Contents]

Introduction

Purpose

This guidebook has been prepared to assist forestry practitioners in meeting the requirements of the Forest Practices Code with respect to the safe and efficient, broadcast application of fertilizer.

Specific Forest Practices Regulations and Standards for forest fertilization are listed with relevant guidelines enclosed in text boxes throughout the guidebook. Guidelines cover the selection of suitable stands, fertilization methods, and monitoring procedures required to implement a forest fertilization operation.

For further information on the subjects addressed in this guide please refer to the references listed in Appendix 5 or contact the B.C. Ministry of Forests.

Response to fertilization

Fertilization is a silvicultural treatment that can be effectively used to increase the merchantable yield and value of established forests. By adding nutrients that are limited on a site, fertilizers can improve the growth of individual stands. However, with knowledge of the timber supply profile and the timing and magnitude of wood supply needs, fertilization can also be strategically used to accelerate the development of specific age classes and timber types. This is done to facilitate an even supply of wood at the forest level.

The response of a forest stand to fertilization is best considered as a reduction in rotation length. Fertilization accelerates the rate of stand development. A fertilized crop will therefore generally not differ significantly from a non-fertilized crop grown over a longer rotation.

Although fertilizers are normally applied to accelerate stand development, an alternative objective is the rehabilitation of disturbed sites. Secondary roads and landings may experience excessive soil disturbance. Rehabilitation of these areas may require the application of fertilizer to promote a cover crop and reduce erosion. Procedures for rehabilitating sites can be found in Soil Disturbance Rehabilitation Guidebook.

Fertilizer can also be applied at the time of planting. This is done on sites where:

Fertilization at planting is normally done with a slow release fertilizer in or near the planting hole. Fertilization to meet free growing requirements is discussed briefly in the Establishment to Free Growing Guidebook.

The methods and procedures discussed in this guidebook describe broadcast fertilizer applications used to increase tree growth.


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