Red Oak Silvicultural Effectiveness - 130-506

Description: In July of 2004, a large stand of red oak (Quercus rubra) was harvested in Phelps Township, North Bay District, using the uniform shelterwood system. Most of the stand was harvested to retain 50% crown closure, while a very small portion was harvested to retain 70% crown closure. During tree marking, an active Goshawk nest was identified and the appropriate Area of Concern (AOC) prescription was applied. Within the modified cut portion of the AOC, the group selection silvicultural system was used with two different sized group openings: the traditional 0.1 ha with a diameter of 36 m, and a smaller opening (0.05 ha) with a diameter equal to 24 m (stand height). The stand is growing on deep loamy-sands and best described as having a “dry” moisture regime classification. A number of operational studies initiated by Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc. in cooperation with the Southern Science and Information Section as well as Nipissing University, were established within this harvested red oak stand.


List of research studies:

1. Acorn sowing
a) Effect of frozen storage on acorn germination and early growth of red oak seedlings
b) Effect of silvicultural system (group selection vs uniform shelterwood) on survival, early growth, and condition of red oak seedlings originating from acorns


2. Planting stock size and fertilizer at time of planting study
Effect of two concentrations of fertilizer on the survival and early growth of large and small red oak planting stock.


3. Group Selection 
Effect of size of opening and location within opening on:
a) survival, growth, and condition of planted red oak seedlings, and
b) stocking, density, and condition of natural regeneration of red oak and other tree species.


4. Planting - spacing and pattern
Effect of planting spacing and pattern on:
a) survival, early growth, and condition of planted red oak, and
b) stocking and density of red oak regeneration,
c) cost of tending.


5. Uniform shelterwood
Effect of 2 intensities of shelterwood cutting (50% and 70% crown closure) on:
a) survival, early growth and condition of planted red oak,
b) percent cover and height of competing vegetation
c) stocking, density and condition of natural red oak regeneration.


6. Tending  Treatments

Effect of tending technique (mechanical, chemical, prescribed fire, or untreated control) on the control of competing vegetation and growth response of red oak.

  • Effect of overstory crown closure on the number of treatments required to maintain red oak seedlings in a co-dominant position with vegetation within a 1 m radius around its crown.


7. Regeneration ecology
In 2005-06, Dr. Jeff Dech (Forestry Research Partnership/Nipissing University) and Dr. Peter Nosko (Nipissing University) were awarded funding to study the regeneration ecology of red oak. With the goal of determining the optimal conditions for regeneration of red oak and identifying appropriate silvicultural treatments to establish these conditions, the following studies have been recently (Spring 2006) initiated at the Phelps Township Red Oak site:

a) Coppice Dynamics – studying red oak, red maple, and sugar maple sprouts in three different canopy conditions to find out how to promote or inhibit sprout growth.
b) Seed Predation – studying the effects of distance from the parent tree on the predation of acorns by herbivores and pathogens. Tests are also being conducted on acorn germination after the application of predation deterrents.
c) Competition – studying the success of red oak growth under four different crown conditions in order to select a favourable silvicultural treatment for this species.
d) Herbivory – testing leaves of red oak and red maple seedlings growing in three canopy conditions to determine if production of anti-herbivore defence chemicals varies with a number of factors.
e) Litter – Testing the physical and chemical effects of sugar maple and red oak litter on the germination and growth of red oak.
f) Co-Management of Red Oak and White Pine – a variety of planting, tending, and disturbance treatment combinations will be applied to stands dominated by red oak and/or white pine in order to identify the best silvicultural approaches to promote red oak and/or white pine recruitment.


8. Other

  • Weather stations (Hobos) were established in group openings, 70% shelterwood and 50% shelterwood areas to quantify and monitor the effect of the overstory treatments on air and soil temperature and soil moisture 
  • Methods for estimating crown closure will be compared: Fisheye lens photography, LiDAR and large scale photography, densiometer, ocular estimates, and digital photography using a regular digital camera.
  • Light measurements will be taken under each overstory treatment and around a sample of seedlings in each treatment
  • A photoseries will be established to capture changes over time in each plot


The Project Team: Andree Morneault, OMNR, Al Stinson, OMNR-FRP, Dave Deugo, Scott Reid, Megan Smith, Dianne Othmer, OMNR, Tom MacLean & Ian Kovacs, Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc., Ian Aho, Bill Parker, Tom Noland, OFRI, Rob Baker, Marinus Verwey, Guylaine Thauvette, North Bay District, OMNR, Don Willis, Jiffy Products, Peter Nosko & Jeff Dech Nipissing University


Technical Notes:

Tree Tip for Project 130-506 - Sowing Red Oak, June 2009 (Français)

Tree Tip for Project 130-506 - Planting and Tending Red Oak, June 2009 (Français)

Tree Tip for Project 130-506 - Red Oak Silvicultural Effectiveness, June 2012



Phelps Township Red Oak Studies Overview


Supporting Materials:

Phelps Red Oak Studies Map


Status Reports:
Phelps Township Red Oak Studies Update (2005)

Status Report (2007-2008)

Project Work Report (2007-2008)

Status Report (2009-2010)


For Additional Information Contact:

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