Stand quality management of a water oak plantation in Louisiana: preliminary results following thinningThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Stand quality management is a new guiding principle in which thinning prescriptions are based on tree quality rather than on residual stand density. We recently initiated a series of hardwood thinning studies to determine the effects of four stand quality management thinning prescriptions on both stand-level and individual-tree-level growth, quality, and value: (1) no thinning, (2) Acceptable with Superior Poletimber, (3) Acceptable with No Poletimber, (4) Desirable with Superior Poletimber, and (5) Desirable with No Poletimber. The first study was installed during the summer of 2004 in a 35-year-old water oak (Quercus nigra L.) plantation at the Red River Wildlife Management Area near Shaw, LA. Prior to thinning, stand density averaged 122 trees and 101 square feet of basal area per acre. Quadratic mean diameter of the stand was 12.4 inches. All four thinning prescriptions significantly increased diameter growth of individual water oak trees during the first two years after thinning. However, thinning also stimulated the production of new epicormic branches on the butt logs of residual trees. The Acceptable with Superior Poletimber thinning prescription produced the best combination of (1) acceptable residual stand density, (2) improved diameter growth, and (3) least adverse effect from the production of epicormic branches in this previously unmanaged, mid-rotation water oak plantation.