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Individual Highlight

Black Cherry Crown Health and Mortality on the Allegheny National Forest

Photo of Variation in black cherry crown health: Left-- a healthy tree; Right--an unhealthy declining tree. Robert Long, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Variation in black cherry crown health: Left-- a healthy tree; Right--an unhealthy declining tree. Robert Long, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Black cherry, an important timber and wildlife species in the Allegheny hardwood forest, is suffering from poor crown health and increased mortality across northern Pennsylvania. Research is in progress to determine the biotic and abiotic factors causing this change in black cherry health status and to provide guidance to managers for determining appropriate treatment options.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Long, Robert P. 
Research Location : Allegheny National Forest
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1159

Summary

Foresters and land managers have reported poor crown health and increased mortality of black cherry in Allegheny hardwood forests across northern Pennsylvania for the past decade. In 2014 and 2015, with funding provided by the Forest Service’s Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program, 92 FHM plots were re-surveyed on the Allegheny National Forest. The mean percent standing dead black cherry basal area averaged 15.7 percent in these plots in 2014-2015 compared with 10.2 percent in the 2002-2006 survey and just 8.3 percent in the 1998-2001 survey. Almost 70 percent of the mortality occurs in the sawtimber size class or trees 11 inches or larger in diameter at breast height. Black cherry mortality is higher in plots that had recent fall web worm defoliations. Estimates of the live crown ratio, or height of the living crown as a percent of the total tree height, indicates 60 percent of the black cherry trees have less than 25 percent live crown ratio. Injury from the cherry leaf spot fungus insect defoliators such as fall web worm, cherry scallop shell moth, and unquantified stressors such as wind and ice have also negatively affected black cherry health.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Pennsylvania State University

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