Regeneratoin Development 3 Years After Thinning and Fertilization in an East Texas Bottomland Hardwood Stand (To Manage or To Regenerate: Can We Do Both?)This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Silviculture textbooks state that intermediate treatments, such as thinning, are prescribed to regulate the growing space for the benefit of existing trees and not to create enough growing space to initiate new trees of desirable species. If new, desirable regeneration develops, then it is considered a by-product of the intermediate treatment and is not to be managed, else the operation is a reproduction. In bottomland hardwood management where oaks (Quercus spp.) are the primary species being managed, new oak reproduction often initiates following a thinning operation, especially if the operation coincides with an exceptionally good acorn crop. Given past difficulties in regenerating bottomland oaks, an opportunity exists to promote the development of this reproduction during future thinning operations where growth and development of desired overstory crop trees is still the primary objective. Results following 3 years of crown thinning and low thinning, along with a fertilization treatment, showed few differences in the density and development of oak reproduction compared to unthinned plots, but an oak regeneration pool is developing. We believe the lack of differences reflect the young nature of the stand, i.e., it is just entering acorn production age. Future thinnings should enhance the establishment and development of oak reproduction despite the concurrent development of future midstory canopy species such as American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana Walt.) and deciduous holly (Ilex decidua Walt.).