Evaluation of Nuttall oak and cherrybark oak survival by planting stock and site preparation treatment type in a WRP planting on a retired agricultural siteThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Oaks are an ecologically and economically important component of the southern landscape, and many landowners are opting to regenerate their lands with these species. Federal cost share programs, such as the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), have increased public interest in afforestation of retired agricultural sites in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV). Acorns, bare-root, container, and potted seedlings of Nuttall oak (Quercus texana Buckl.) and cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.) were tested in a WRP planting near Port Barre, LA to evaluate survival following four mechanical/chemical site preparation combinations. These acorns/seedlings were planted using a 16 by 36 foot spacing with soft mast tree species interplanted on 16 by 9 foot intervals to meet WRP compliance specifications. The entire research site was subsoiled on 16 foot centers with acorn/seedlings planted in the subsoil trench. Control (no mechanical/chemical treatment), subsoil only, subsoil/Chopper EC®, subsoil/Arsenal AC®, and subsoil/OneStep® site preparation treatments were applied in an attempt to evaluate which treatment combination provided the greatest overall survival. Survival and herbaceous coverage estimates were recorded monthly in order to chronologically observe site preparation efficacy and the relationship between herbaceous competition and oak survival. Acorns did not germinate and bare-root seedlings exhibited very low survival. Containerized seedlings exhibited midrange survival and potted seedlings had the greatest overall survival. Early season flooding and a summer drought probably decreased survival of all planting stocks. Increased broadleaf competition in areas that received chemical treatments resulted in less survival compared to areas that received subsoiling only.