Blue oak enhance soil quality in California oak woodlands
AuthorsRandy A Dahlgren
William R Horwath
Kenneth W Tate
Trina J Camping
Authors AffiliationsR.A. Dahlgren is Professor, Soils and Biogeochemistry Program; W.R. Horwath is Professor, Soils and Biogeochemistry Program; K.W. Tate is Rangeland Watershed Specialist, Department of Agronomy and Range Science; T.C. Camping is Graduate Research Assistant, Soil Science Graduate Group, UC Davis. Funding for this project was provided by the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science and UC Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program. We thank the staff of the UC Sierra Foothill and Hopland Research and Extension Centers for their assistance with this project.
Hilgardia 57(2):42-47. DOI:10.3733/ca.v057n02p42. April 2003.
Blue oaks create islands of enhanced soil quality and fertility beneath their canopy. The quality of soil beneath the oak canopy is considerably better than that of the grasslands adjacent to the trees. We found evidence of improved soil quality under blue oaks for physical, chemical and biological soil properties. The type of vegetation (oak versus annual grasses) has a much stronger influence on soil organic matter and nutrient pools than does soil parent material. Removal of oak trees results in a rapid deterioration of soil quality with the majority of the loss occurring within 10 to 20 years after tree removal.
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