American Chestnut Growth and Survival Five Years after Planting in Two Silvicultural Treatments in the Southern Appalachians, USA

Author(s): Clark, Stacy L.; Mcnab, Henry; Loftis, David; Zarnoch, Stanley

  • Date: 2012
  • Source: Forests 3:1017-1033
  • Station ID: JRNL-SRS-3

Description:

The ability to restore American chestnut (Castanea dentata) through the planting of blight-resistant (Cryphonectria parasitica) trees is currently being tested. Forest-based research on the species’ silvicultural requirements and chestnut blight development are lacking. Pure American chestnut seedlings were planted in a two-age shelterwood forest with low residual basal area and in a midstory-removal treatment with high residual basal area. Survival did not differ between silvicultural treatments and averaged 67 percent across both treatments by the fifth year. Trees in the two-age shelterwood were 2.36 m and 16.8 mm larger in height and ground-line diameter, respectively, compared to trees in the midstory-removal by the fifth growing season. Blight occurrence was not affected by silvicultural treatment. Exploratory analyses indicated that seedling grading at planting and keeping trees free-to-grow through competition control would have resulted in a two-year gain in height and GLD growth in the two-age shelterwood treatment. The two-age shelterwood represented the most efficacious prescription for chestnut restoration, but the midstory-removal prescription may offer a reasonable alternative in areas where harvesting must be delayed.

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