The Devil is in the Details for Regeneration Success in Mixed-oak Forests
Shade-tolerant trees such as maples have become abundant in the midstory and understory of mixed-oak forests, creating heavy shade on the forest floor and reducing growth and survival of oak seedlings, which require moderate to high levels of light. To improve oak regeneration, Forst Service scientists are testing the effectiveness of partial shelterwood harvest, herbicide treatment of midstory trees (to limit resprouting), and prescribed fire in the hill country of southern Ohio. Five years after the shelterwood harvest created high light levels in the understory, about 50 percent of the landscape had become adequately stocked with larger oaks (greater than 2 feet tall). However, these oaks were often overtopped by saplings of other species, regardless of whether herbicide was applied before harvest. The researchers concluded that the herbicide treatment alone was insufficient to reduce the non-oak competition due to the abundance of smaller non-oak saplings.
Forest Service Partners