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Overstory Density Affects Field Performance of Underplanted Red Oak (Quercus rubra L.) in Ontario

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Red oak seedlings were underplanted in a closed-canopy mature northern hardwood stand and an adjacent shelterwood in central Ontario. Overstory density effects on seedling survival and growth were assessed 2 yr after planting. After 2 yr, seedling survival was 90% in the uncut stand and over 99% in the shelterwood. Seedlings in the uncut stand experienced negligible or negative annual increments in stem diameter and height. Seedlings in the shelterwood were about 2 mm larger in diameter and nearly twice as tall as those in the uncut stand after 2 yr. Second-year stem diameter and height distributions of planted oak were significantly different in the shelterwood and the uncut stand. Root volume, area, and dry mass were substantially larger for seedlings grown in the shelterwood than those in the uncut stand. Loss of vigor, growth declines, and increased mortality of planted oak were largely a result of extremely low understory light levels in the uncut stand. Results of this study suggest that red oak underplanted in an uncut stand 2 or more years before a shelterwood harvest will be at a competitive disadvantage once they are released. Establishment and performance of underplanted red oak is promoted by shelterwoods that provide adequate light at the forest floor and should exhibit a strong positive growth response following final overstory removal. North. J. Appl. For. 14(3):120-125

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Ontario Forest Research Institute, P.O. Box 969, 1235 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, P6A 5N5

Publication date: 1997-09-01

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  • 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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