To take maximum advantage of investments in site preparation, oaks could be planted at densities within treated areas that assure those areas are fully occupied at maturity, where “fully occupied” is the desired oak stocking at maturity necessary to meet management goals. A reasonable goal might be at least 100 competitively successful trees per acre at stand age 11. This density would allow for some losses to mortality and suppression beyond 11 years, yet provide reasonable assurance that the oaks, would ultimately occupy most of the growing space within treated areas. Specific steps to follow to optimize planted seedling success include:
- Select upland sites within the site index range of 60 to 79 ft for red oaks.
- Create a shelterwood by reducing overstory density to 40 to 60 percent stocking by thinning from below, i.e., concentrating removals on subcanopy trees down to 1.5-inches d.b.h.. Treat the cut surface of cut stems of competitors with an effective herbicide.
- Before planting, cut all competing woody plants 1-ft or taller and 1.5-inches or less d.b.h., then apply an effective herbicide to the cut surface.
- Plant 2-year-old undercut seedlings with clipped tops that average at least 1/2-inch in caliper measured 0.8 inch above the root collar.
- Apply a second competition control treatment (herbicide) before shelterwood removal.
- Remove the shelterwood three growing seasons after planting. Treat the cut surface of cut stems of competitors with an effective herbicide.
For further information please go to the “How To” article.
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