Underplanting cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.) seedlings on a bottomland site in the southern United States
We initiated a study on a bottomland site in the southern United States to examine the effects of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunberg) control and seedlings of two root classes on survival and growth of underplanted cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.) seedlings. Three honeysuckle control treatments were assigned to nine 0.5-ha plots in a stand harvested to 30% residual stocking. Treatments included a spring 1997 herbicide application (Escort, metsulfuron- methyl), a similar application in the late summer of 1997, and a control (no herbicide application). In 1998, half of each treatment plot was planted with seedlings having four or more first-order lateral roots>1 mm in diameter, while the other half of each plot received seedlings with fewer than four lateral roots. Four years after treatment, the early season application reduced honeysuckle biomass 60% relative to the other treatments, but we did not observe a survival or growth response by underplanted seedlings. Three years after establishment, seedlings that initially had four or more lateral roots were 16% taller and 18% larger in root-collar diameter than seedlings in the other class, but these differences were primarily due to initial size differences maintained through the study period. Over all treatments, oak seedlings averaged 87% survival while showing a 300% increase in height and a 170% increase in root-collar diameter 3 years after planting. Our results suggest that partial stand harvesting followed by underplanting may be a viable approach for establishing cherrybark oak reproduction on bottomland sites of the southern United States.