Cherrybark oak stump sprout survival and development five years following plantation thinning in the lower Mississippi alluvial valley, USA
Cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.) stump sprouts were studied for 5 years in a 30-year-old plantation thinned to 70–75% stocking (light thinning) and 45–50% stocking (heavy thinning). Sprouting success, survival, number of sprouts per stump, and sprout height differed little between thinning treatments throughout the 5-year study period. Pre-harvest tree d.b.h. also had no influence on sprout survival and development. A 2-year drought reduced survival and may have influenced sprout development. Sprout clump survival dropped from 90% 1 year following thinning to 46% 3 years after thinning. Although sprout height averaged 337 cm 5 years after thinning, annual sprout growth decreased from 166 cm the first year after thinning to 33 cm in each of the last 2 growing seasons. Results indicated that bottomland hardwood regeneration evaluation models may underestimate the potential of oak stump sprouts to contribute to pre-harvest regeneration assessments. Further study in the role of stump sprouts to regenerate bottomland oak species is needed.