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You are here >1Up Info > Wildlife, Animals, and Plants > Plant Species > Shrub > Species: Quercus havardii | Sand Shinnery Oak
 

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VALUE AND USE

SPECIES: Quercus havardii | Sand Shinnery Oak
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : NO-ENTRY IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Browse: Sand shinnery oak browse is a valuable wildlife food [33]. It is readily eaten by deer throughout much of the Texas plains [4,6]. In some areas it is an important livestock forage [8], but in most it is primarily used as an emergency food during droughts [32]. Sand shinnery oak browse has caused some livestock poisoning [33]. It is generally most toxic during spring when new foliage is sprouting [21]. Browse is particularly poisonous to cattle and can cause damage to the kidneys and the digestive tract [32]. Sand shinnery oak browse is occasionally toxic to domestic sheep and goats, especially in drought years [21]. However, domestic goats can consume it with impunity where it grows interspersed with other forage [32], and in some areas it contributes significantly to overall goat nutrition [45]. In west Texas, goat consumption has reached 31 percent in June, 45 percent in July, and 51 percent in August [47]. Acorns: Sand shinnery acorns are readily eaten by many wildlife species, including prairie chickens, bobwhites, and the collared peccary, and by livestock[43]. Sites dominated by sand shinnery oak are prime summer foraging areas for the prairie chickens [29]. In New Mexico, small amounts of sand shinnery acorns are eaten by the scaled quail during the summer [7]. Acorns of many oaks are eaten by the wild turkey, grackle, starling, common crow, ruffed grouse, and sharp-tailed grouse, ring-necked pheasant, northern flicker, brown thrasher, jays, woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees, and nuthatches [25,44]. The red squirrel, fox squirrel, gray squirrel, rock squirrel, eastern chipmunk, white-footed mouse, flying squirrels, and numerous other rodents feed on acorns [25,44]. The black bear, raccoon, opossum, deer, cottontails, and foxes also seek out acorns [25,44]. PALATABILITY : Sand shinnery oak browse is at least somewhat palatable to deer and to domestic goats. It is relatively unpalatable to cattle [47]. The high tannin levels present in oak browse presumably reduce palatability to many species. The large, sweet acorns are highly palatable to a variety of wildlife species [8] and to domestic livestock [43]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Browse: Crude protein values of sand shinnery oak browse are relatively low, averaging 8 to 9 percent [46,47]. Tannin levels remain relatively constant from June through September but vary throughout the rest of the year. Twigs typically exhibit slightly higher tannin levels than do leaves. In several studies, condensed tannin ranged from 34 to 38 milligrams per gram [47]. Percent seasonal tannin values were documented as follows in west Texas [47]: April May August October 15.1 8.7 7.7 4.2 In west Texas, the following nutritional values were recorded for current season growth [45]: crude protein 7.6% neutral detergent fiber 48.7% lignin 15% in-vitro organic matter digestibility 35.7% Acorns: Most acorns are nutritious [15] and relatively high in carbohydrates [16]. Acorns of the white oak group are relatively low in tannins (0.5 to 2.5 percent) and lipids (5 to 10 percent) [38]. Protein content of white oak acorns averages approximately 8 percent [56]. COVER VALUE : Sand shinnery oak provides valuable cover for many species of birds and mammals [33]. Thickets provide good summer thermal cover for mule deer on the hot, sunny Texas plains [4]. However, this short oak may have relatively poor concealment value for deer [6]. Sand shinnery oak provides shade for pronghorn, and prairie chickens and other birds [5,29]. The stems and foliage offer vertical screening and excellent nesting cover for prairie chickens [17]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Sand shinnery oak can grow on some harsh, sandy, erosion-prone sites. Potential value for rehabilitation has not been documented. It can be propagated by means of acorns or by separating rootstocks [42,43]. Methods of propagating oaks (Quercus spp.) have been described [2,31]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : The acorns of many oaks were traditionally an important staple of some Native American peoples [43]. Acorns of sand shinnery oak are large and sweet [8] and may have been utilized as a food source. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Competition: Sand shinnery oak has an extensive underground root system and competes vigorously with palatable grasses and other forage species [29,42]. Under dense stands of sand shinnery oak, forage production can be reduced by as much as 90 percent [35]. Sand shinnery oak contributes to increased brush development on some heavily grazed sites and is considered a management problem in parts of Texas [32,54]. Consequently, management objectives have often focused on reducing sand shinnery oak through the use of herbicides, fire, or mechanical treatment. Chemical control: Many herbicides have been used to control sand shinnery oak. Tebuthiuron, 2,4,5-T, and various phenoxy herbicides have proven effective when properly applied [18,32,35,42]. In southeastern New Mexico, best results have been obtained after spring applications [19]. A single application can kill 20 to 30 percent of the roots and 70 to 92 percent of the top growth. Multiple applications increase mortality. Up to 90 percent of the plants can be killed after two or three consecutive annual applications of 2,4,5-T [42]. Grass yields can be increased three to nine times within two growing seasons after treatment [35]. Despite the rapid increase in forage growth, managers recommend resting pastures for at least one growing season after treatment [32]. Mechanical treatment: Experiments suggest that it may be difficult to root-kill sand shinnery oak by mechanical shredding. Plants typically sprout from surviving portions of the stem base after treatment, thereby actually increasing stem density [32]. Biotic controls: In some areas, sand shinnery oak can be effectively controlled by 3 consecutive years of goat browsing [32]. Insects: Sand shinnery oak is susceptible to various insects, such as galls and grasshoppers [9]. Biomass: An estimated 90 percent of the total biomass of sand shinnery oak is located belowground [10]. Carbohydrate allocation to biomass varies seasonally and with chemical treatment. Biomass characteristics have been examined [35]. Wildlife: Sand shinnery oak thickets serve as important deer habitat in some areas. Where management aims include preserving wildlife habitat value, selected clumps or motts of oak should be left when treating sand shinnery oak range. Some brushy areas adjacent to treated oak range should also be left intact [6]. Removal of sand shinnery oak can prove detrimental to prairie chickens [17,29]. During a summer survey, Olawsky [29] reported an average density of 1.3 prairie chickens per acre (0.51/ha) on chemically treated plots and 1.0 per acre (0.41/ha) on untreated plots. During winter, an average density of 1.3 birds per acre (0.53/ha) was observed on chemically treated sites and 0.8 birds per acre (0.41/ha) on nearby untreated sites. Although there were slight increases in density on the treated sites, birds on the untreated sites were in better physical condition [29]. The distributional range of the lesser prairie chicken has decreased dramatically since 1800's due to destruction of habitat [17]. Lesser prairie chicken habitat value can often be maintained by interspersing treated and untreated blocks of sand shinnery oak. Herbel and others [19] reported that the lesser prairie chicken prefers a mosaic composed of grassland and sand shinnery oak motts. Populations of small songbirds, such as meadowlarks, may also be reduced by the elimination or reduction of sand shinnery oak. Olawsky and others [30] studied meadowlark densities in four areas in eastern New Mexico and west Texas; two plots previously treated with tebuthiuron were compared with adjacent untreated plots. Meadowlark densities were greater on the untreated sand shinnery oak plots than on the treated plots. Summer surveys revealed an average density of 0.22 meadowlarks per acre (0.08/ha) on untreated sites and 0.09 per acre (0.04/ha) on treated sites. In winter, densities were estimated at 0.10 per acre (0.04/ha) on untreated sites and only 0.05 per acre (0.02/ha) on treated sites. Grazing: Long-term goat browsing can produce a shift toward more grasses on sand shinnery oak range [45]. Because of the toxicity of new growth [see Importance to Livestock and Wildlife], cattle should be removed from sand shinnery oak range during leaf development [19].

Related categories for Species: Quercus havardii | Sand Shinnery Oak

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