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Six-Year Effects of Two Late Spring Frosts on Appalachian Hardwoods

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Abstract:

Severe late spring frosts can kill new shoots and leaves on commercial tree species at higher elevations. A previous short-term study has shown that the resulting defoliation and dieback does not seriously affect the radial growth or mortality of most species except American beech. In this study we found that defoliation, dieback, and radial growth increment were related to species and crown class. The radial growth increment of American beech was reduced to 70% of the previous 6-yr growth during the first year after the frost. The annual growth then increased consistently over the measurement period. Black cherry and sugar maple radial increment was only reduced to 88% of the previous 6-yr growth, but subsequent increments were much more variable. Epicormic branching on the lower bole of black cherry and beech increased significantly after defoliation occurred. At elevations above 3,200 ft, managers should discourage beech regeneration if timber production is the primary management objective. The potential for higher value products may be reduced because of increased variability in growth rate. North. J. Appl. For. 4:26-28, March 1987.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, 359 Main Road, Delaware, OH 43015

Publication date: March 1, 1987

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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