Sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) decline disease, decreased growth, and regeneration failure have been related to a low supply of Ca and Mg. There is increased interest in augmenting cation availability via liming, but there is little information on the amounts of lime required and the longevity of the lime treatment. A single application of 22.4 Mg ha-1 of dolomitic limestone in 1985 at four forested sites in Potter County, PA has shown that soil, soil water, and sugar maple foliage chemistry are significantly altered by liming and the changes in soils and foliage persist as long as 21-yr post-treatment. By 2001, only 3 kg ha-1 of lime remained undissolved while increases in exchangeable Ca and Mg, and pH continued through 2006 at depths up to 35 to 45 cm.
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Sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) is a keystone species in the northern hardwood forest, and decline episodes have negatively affected the growth and health of sugar maple in portions of its range over the past 50+ years. Crown health, growth, survival, and flower and seed production of sugar maple were negatively affected by a widespread decline event in the mid-1980s on the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau in northern Pennsylvania. A long-term liming study was initiated in 1985 to evaluate responses to a one-time application of 22.4 MgáhaÐ1 of dolomitic limestone in four northern hardwood stands.
Sugar maple, Acer saccharum, decline disease is incited by multiple disturbance factors when imbalanced calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and manganese (Mn) act as predisposing stressors. Our objective in this study was to determine whether factors affecting sugar maple health also affect growth as estimated by basal area increment (BAI). We used 76 northern hardwood stands in northern Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, USA, and found that sugar maple growth was positively related to foliar concentrations of Ca and Mg and stand level estimates of sugar maple crown health during a high stress period from 1987 to 1996. Foliar nutrient threshold values for Ca, Mg, and Mn were used to analyze long-term BAI trends from 1937 to 1996. Significant (P <= 0.05) nutrient threshold-by-time interactions indicate changing growth in relation to nutrition during this period.
During the past four decades, declines of sugar maple have occurred throughout its range. Each decline event has been the subject of intense research.The declines were ephemeral, preventing a complete understanding of conditions and causes.The most recent decline in Pennsylvania was the impetus to organize an international symposium on sugar maple ecology and health. Speakers from the United States and Canada were invited to share their research and explore a variety of topics concerning sugar maple history and ecology, recent sugar maple declines, nutrient and beiowground dynamics in northeastern forests, and interactions of forest health with biotic and abiotic stressors. Posters also were contributed. Attending scientists, natural resource professionals, and land managers participated in two days of talks and discussions and a day-long field trip to sugar maple decline research sites in northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York.