Publication Details

Ten-year response of competing vegetation after oak shelterwood treatments in West Virginia

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Year Published

2014

Publication

In: Groninger, John W.; Holzmueller, Eric J.; Nielsen, Clayton K.; Dey, Daniel C., eds. Proceedings, 19th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2014 March 10-12; Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-142. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 156-171.

Abstract

Successful oak regeneration depends on the relative status of advanced oak reproduction and associated competing woody vegetation present when harvests or other stand-replacing disturbances occur. This study was installed to quantify the effect of microsite light availability and deer browsing on the development of advanced northern red oak (Quercus rubra) seedlings and competing vegetation in 80-year-old, mixed mesophytic Appalachian hardwood stands dominated by northern red oak. Advanced oak seedlings and competing woody species were monitored in forty-eight 0.4-acre permanent plots for 10 years. Microsite light was manipulated with herbicide injection and cut-stump treatments to stems in the intermediate and suppressed crown classes. Twelve plots were randomly assigned to four microsite light levels: Control, Low, Medium, and High. Eight plots in each treatment were randomly assigned to receive protection from deer browsing by a woven wire fence. The major competing vegetation included black cherry (Prunus serotina), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), sweet birch (Betula lenta), red maple (Acer rubrum), striped maple (A. pensylvanicum), and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). The development of competing vegetation in each treatment combination was compared 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 years after treatment. Both microsite light level, as measured by photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and fencing had a significant effect on the abundance and height class of competing vegetation. Competing vegetation increased at higher PAR levels and within fenced plots at a moderate pace for the first 5 years after treatment, followed by a surge in height growth in the second 5 years after treatment. After 10 years, sweet birch was the most aggressive competitor in the treated plots, with nearly 10,000 stems per acre ≥3 feet tall in fenced plots with the highest PAR levels. Guidelines for prescribing similar preparatory treatments and a discussion of management implications for long-term oak regeneration success are provided.

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Citation

Miller, Gary W.; Kochenderfer, James N.; Kochenderfer, Jeffrey D.; Gottschalk, Kurt W. 2014. Ten-year response of competing vegetation after oak shelterwood treatments in West Virginia. In: Groninger, John W.; Holzmueller, Eric J.; Nielsen, Clayton K.; Dey, Daniel C., eds. Proceedings, 19th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2014 March 10-12; Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-142. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 156-171.

Last updated on: January 21, 2015