Planting oaks: a recipe for success

Growing oak trees to maturity begins with two ingredients: viable acorns and competitive seedlings. USDA Forest Service scientist Stacy Clark wrote a cookbook to help managers with the regeneration process in healthy, productive oak forests. To regenerate an oak forest, healthy, large oak seedlings and saplings must be present in the understory before overstory trees…  More 

Mind the gap? Pines love it!

  The bigger the gap the more pines grow Especially when site treatment keeps hardwood growth slow But if a mixedwood stand Is the forest we desire Advanced hardwood regen Should be allowed to grow higher. USDA Forest Service scientist Don Bragg collaborated on a study recently published in Forest Ecology and Management that considered…  More 

Northern red oak: a contender or a member?

Northern red oak in the Appalachians Grows to be stately at high elevations But is there regen? And what makes it thrive? Harvest makes light to keep it alive But fire suppression helps mesophytes reign A little control may help red oak sustain Site treatment with fire and some herbicide May help each species to…  More 

Handbook for 30-year-old bottomland oak stands

Southern floodplain forest landowners can benefit from a new USDA Forest Service handbook of silvicultural practices for oaks planted on former croplands. The practical volume outlines the methods – and supporting science – for managing stands to produce high-quality oak sawtimber, improve wildlife habitat through acorn production, or an integrated approach for both timber and…  More 

One Acorn, Two Acorns, Three Acorns, Four…

By lying on your back under an oak tree, you can look up and estimate its number of acorns. But why? “A lot of state wildlife agencies do acorn surveys annually because hunters want to know crop sizes, which fluctuate like crazy from year to year, among different oak species, and among locations,” says USDA…  More 

Which Comes First, the Acorn or the Tree?

Acorns feed birds, bears, deer, and many small mammals. But the big oak trees that produce those acorns are also harvested to become timber. In managing hardwood forests, there’s a potential trade-off between harvesting oak trees for their valuable wood and reducing the number of oak trees left to produce acorns. To help determine a…  More 

Managing Oak-Pine Stands

About half of southern forests are a mix of oaks and pines growing side by side. In the past, getting rid of either the oaks or the pines had been a common management goal. “Pine plantations – stands with no oaks – have become one of the most recognizable symbols of forest management,” says John…  More 

Scientists Share Knowledge on Sustaining Oak at Symposium

For the first time since 2002, scientists and land managers met to share knowledge on sustaining and conserving oak forests in the eastern U.S. The oak symposium was held October 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee and hosted by The University of Tennessee Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries. The meeting featured 33 invited speakers, an audience…  More 

Oak Regeneration and Acorn Size

Oak regeneration is an oft-discussed topic in forestry. The trees aren’t sustainably generating in many upland temperate forests due to a variety of factors — including the fact that they are less competitive than other, more sun-loving species such as tulip poplar. One way that forest managers are responding to this issue is artificial oak…  More 

Acorns and Their Predators

Acorns aren’t only for squirrels. They serve as a food source for a variety of wildlife, such as mice, deer, and turkeys. This presents somewhat of a problem for oak trees – acorn producers – because their future depends on acorns surviving and germinating to become the next generation. A recent study by USDA Forest…  More