Wildlife, Animals, and Plants
VALUE AND USE
SPECIES: Quercus prinus | Chestnut Oak
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE :
Chestnut oak wood is cut and utilized as white oak lumber .
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE :
Good crops of chestnut oak acorns are infrequent, but when available the
acorns are eaten by numerous upland wildlife species, including
white-tailed deer, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and wild turkeys .
White-tailed deer occasionally browse young oak sprouts, especially the
first year after cutting or burning. The deer only take the top few
inches of the sprout unless it is extremely succulent or other food is
Small birds and mammals, as well as insects such as bees, use chestnut
oak cavities for nesting. In a survey of 31 oak-hickory (Carya spp.)
stands in the Appalachian Mountains, a disproportionate share of
cavities were in chestnut oak .
Chestnut oak acorns are considered sweet . Gray squirrels selected
pignut hickory (Carya glabra) nuts and northern red oak acorns over
chestnut oak acorns but preferred chestnut oak acorns to those of white
White-tailed deer prefer chestnut oak sprouts to seedlings .
Chestnut oak sprouts are more palatable than those of bear oak (Q.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE :
Chestnut oak acorns are, on average by dry weight, 5.76 percent crude
protein, 10.07 percent crude fat, and 78.9 percent carbohydrates .
The acorns are 0.09 percent (dry weight) magnesium and 0.15 percent
phosphorus, and contain only a trace of calcium . The average crude
energy yield of chestnut oak acorns is 21.8 kJ/kernel, and the average
metabolizable energy yield is 15.7 kJ/kernel .
COVER VALUE :
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES :
In the past, chestnut oak performed well on mine spoils in Ohio  and
on cast overburden in Illinois and Indiana . However, more recent
plantings of chestnut oak on mine spoils have not been as successful.
Reclamation practices mandated by federal law are often unfavorable for
oak establishment. Top-soiling practices, excess soil compaction caused
by grading, and competition from seeded herbaceous covers reduce the
growth and survival of planted oak species . Chestnut oak did not
show good height growth or survival and is not recommended for planting
on graded, top-soiled mine spoils in southern Illinois .
OTHER USES AND VALUES :
Chestnut oak shows a 7 to 10 day delay in budbreak and leaf flush on
sites that have heavy metal (copper, zinc, and lead) enrichment of the
soil. This retarded leaf flush may be used in geobotanical
remote-sensing techniques for mineral detection .
MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
To regenerate upland oaks successfully, advance regeneration must be 4
to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) tall before the overstory is removed. Successful
regeneration of a mixed oak forest can only be accomplished after
clearcutting if there are adequate numbers of older advance regeneration
. Sanders  recommended that there be at least 433
well-distributed oak sprouts and saplings per acre (1,070/ha).
Otherwise, a shelterwood silviculture system is needed to give oak
regeneration time and partial light to grow. For best results, the
shelterwood cut should leave a 60 to 70 percent stocking density. All
nonoak stems in the understory larger than 4 to 6 feet (1.2-1.8 m) tall
should be killed .
Forest managers have noticed a decrease in upland oak frequency in newly
regenerated stands after clearcutting, especially on good sites. The
reason for the decrease is the inability of oak seedlings and sprouts to
compete successfully with species that have invaded the oak forest
understory in the absence of disturbance . In West Virginia, 59
stands with a history of grazing, thinning, or light fire in the past
two decades had more oak regeneration than undisturbed stands .
The season of clearcutting appears to have an effect on the regeneration
of upland oak stands. On lower quality sites in south-central Ohio,
upland oaks (chestnut, scarlet, black, and white) were more favored over
mixed hardwoods after summer clearcutting than after winter
clearcutting. The season of harvest (dormant season versus growing
season) did not affect regeneration on good sites .
Site quality affects the ability of upland oaks to regenerate. In the
abovementioned study in south-central Ohio, medium-quality sites had
higher absolute and relative oak densities 18 to 20 years after
clearcutting than did good sites. The oaks showed good early
establishment on both medium and good sites but were unable to compete
with the faster growing mesic hardwoods on good sites . The seed
tree silviculture method was used on fair and good sites in an
Appalachian hardwood forest which contained chestnut oak. Twelve years
after the seed-tree harvest cut and 9 years after seed trees were cut,
chestnut oak regeneration was abundant only on the fair site .
Thinning may or may not improve the growth of established chestnut oak
stands. Five years after thinning a sawtimber-sized stand, the 75- to
80-year-old chestnut oaks had not responded to the release . Thinning
upland oak stands to retain the best acorn producers for wildlife
habitat enhancement did not improve acorn yields enough to justify the
efforts . Information on thinning, stocking, growth, and yields of
upland oaks is detailed .
Planting chestnut oak seedlings in old fields in the southern
Appalachian Mountains is generally unsuccessful unless the competition
is controlled for more than 3 years . Information on storage,
seeding, and planting techniques for upland oaks is detailed .
In 26 chestnut oak stands in Pennsylvania and Maryland, advance
regeneration responded to the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) defoliation
of the canopy by increasing in height. However, there was a large
influx of competing vegetation, and the oak component of future stands
will probably be reduced .
Chestnut oak is one of the two most preferred host species of the
introduced gypsy moth, which defoliates trees . Crow and Hicks 
developed hazard rating equations from site and stand characteristics
associated with chestnut oak mortality caused by insect defoliation.
The discriminant function equations correctly classified as dead or
alive 59 percent of the chestnut oaks in a study area in West Virginia.
The equations use the following variables: d.b.h., height, site index,
percent slope, aspect, host preference of insect, shade tolerance, and
the number of years of defoliation .
Other insects which defoliate chestnut oak include spring and fall
cankerworms (Paleacrita vernata and Alsophila pometaria), the forest
tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria), the half-wing geometer (Phigalia
titea) , oak leafrollers (Archips spp.) , and the linden looper
(Erannis tilaria) . Chestnut oak is susceptible to wood-boring
beetles, including the Columbian timber beetle (Corthylus columbianus),
Platypus spp., and Xyleborus spp. Other wood borers that attack
chestnut oak include the oak timberworm (Arrhenodes minutus), the
carpenterworm (Prionoxystus robiniae), the little carpenterworm (P.
macmurtrei) , and the two-lined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus)
Chestnut oak is susceptible to many oak diseases including oak wilt
(Ceratocystis fagacearum), twig-blight fungus (Diplodia longispora), and
stem cankers caused by Nectria galligena, Strumella coryneoidea, and
Botryodiplodia spp. Important decay-causing fungi include Spongipellis
pachyodon, Stereum gausapatum, Armillaria mellea, Fistulina hepatica,
Wolfiporia cocos, Inonotus dryophilus, Xylobolus frustulatus, and
Perenniporia compacta. Decay is common in stump sprouts, although the
incidence is lower for those that originate near the ground .
Chestnut oak is also susceptible to, but rarely killed by, several gall
wasps (Cynipidae), a pit scale (Asterolecanium quercicola), and the
golden oak scale (A. variolosum). Acorns are destroyed by nut weevils
(Curculio spp. and Conotrachelus spp.), the moth Valentinia glandulella,
and cynipid gall wasps .
Chestnut oaks that are stressed from drought, gypsy moth defoliation,
spring frost defoliation, old age, fire, poor site conditions, or other
factors often succumb to secondary agents such as the two-lined chestnut
borer. This scenario, in which a primary agent stresses the tree and a
secondary agent kills it, is known as "oak decline" and is responsible
for considerable chestnut oak mortality .
Herbicides have been used to control chestnut oak on sites where pine
regeneration is desired. In order to convert a North Carolina
Appalachian site to white pine (Pinus strobus), picloram was applied in
May as 10 percent acid equivalent pellets at the rate of 4.5 pounds acid
equivalent per acre (5.0 kg ae/ha). One year later, 29 percent of the
chestnut oaks showed complete crown kill or defoliation; 67 percent
showed leaf curling, crown biomass reduction, and/or chlorosis; and 4
percent exhibited no effect from the herbicide treatment .
Roundup (glyphosate) was used to control chestnut oak on a white pine
plantation in West Virginia. Three subsequent mistblower applications
in August and September on small chestnut oak sprouts were 100 percent
effective after two growing seasons. In the fall, saplings larger than
1 inch (2.5 cm) in d.b.h. were injected with 0.05 fluid ounce (1.5 ml)
of 20 and 50 percent solutions a few inches above the groundline in
1.5-inch (3.8 cm) spacings. Two growing seasons after the injections,
100 percent of the chestnut oak saplings were dead and did not have
In Georgia, three herbicides were tested on chestnut oak. Each tree
received one incision for every 3 inches (7.6 cm) in d.b.h., and each
incision was injected with 0.06 ounces (2 ml) of herbicide. One year
after injection, chestnut oak injected with Arsenal at two different
concentrations (1 and 2 lbs AC 252,925 per gallon) had 100 percent
top-kill and no sprouting. Garlon 3A (1.5 pounds triclopyr per gallon)
resulted in 40 percent top-kill. Chestnut oak injected with
3,6-dichloropicolinic acid at two concentrations (1.5 and 3 pounds
XRM-3972 per gallon) resulted in 0 percent and 20 percent top-kill,
Dead, standing chestnut oak killed by fire had the fastest decomposition
rate (11 percent per year) of ten species studied in the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park .
Related categories for Species: Quercus prinus
| Chestnut Oak