Influence of flooding, freezing, and American beaver herbivory on survival of planted oak seedlingsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Good seedlings, proper planting, and competition control normally result in successful hardwood planting. However, other factors can have serious impact on planting success, such as the impact of flooding, freezing, and the American beaver (Castor canadensis). In 2014, three planting stocks of Nuttall oak (Quercus nuttallii) and Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii) were planted on two sites in southern Mississippi and survival checks were conducted monthly. The first check revealed that only three seedlings of the containerized stock had survived. Subsequent nursery inquiries revealed that many containerized seedlings died from freezing over the unusually cold winter. During the second check, it was discovered that beavers had uprooted many seedlings and consumed the roots at one site. Rain gauge data confirmed that excessive rainfall had resulted in site flooding and seedlings remained underwater for a portion of the month of May. After the immediate loss from beaver damage, Shumard oak seedlings suffered an additional loss over both remaining planting stocks due to the extended period of inundation. Most of the loss caused by inundation was large potted seedlings. Overall, 99.8 percent mortality occurred in one planting stock due to freezing, 22 percent of mortality was due to beaver damage, and 33 percent of mortality was due to inundation in the remaining planting stocks.