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You are here >1Up Info > Wildlife, Animals, and Plants > Plant Species > Tree > Species: Quercus prinus | Chestnut Oak
 

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VALUE AND USE

SPECIES: Quercus prinus | Chestnut Oak
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Chestnut oak wood is cut and utilized as white oak lumber [49]. 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 [49]. 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 scarce [41]. 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 [9]. PALATABILITY : Chestnut oak acorns are considered sweet [49]. 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 oak [36]. White-tailed deer prefer chestnut oak sprouts to seedlings [52]. Chestnut oak sprouts are more palatable than those of bear oak (Q. ilicifolia) [41]. 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 [66]. The acorns are 0.09 percent (dry weight) magnesium and 0.15 percent phosphorus, and contain only a trace of calcium [75]. 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 [36]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : In the past, chestnut oak performed well on mine spoils in Ohio [37] and on cast overburden in Illinois and Indiana [73]. 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 [73]. 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 [2]. 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 [3]. 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 [62]. Sanders [61] 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 [62]. 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 [62]. 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 [10]. 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 [76]. 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 [76]. 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 [68]. 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 [67]. Thinning upland oak stands to retain the best acorn producers for wildlife habitat enhancement did not improve acorn yields enough to justify the efforts [16]. Information on thinning, stocking, growth, and yields of upland oaks is detailed [23]. 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 [18]. Information on storage, seeding, and planting techniques for upland oaks is detailed [60]. 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 [30]. Chestnut oak is one of the two most preferred host species of the introduced gypsy moth, which defoliates trees [49]. Crow and Hicks [14] 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 [14]. 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) [49], oak leafrollers (Archips spp.) [59], and the linden looper (Erannis tilaria) [49]. 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) [49], and the two-lined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus) [51]. 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 [49]. 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 [49]. 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 [51]. 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 [53]. 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 sprouts [78]. 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, respectively [50]. 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 [28].

Related categories for Species: Quercus prinus | Chestnut Oak

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Information Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System

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