Regenerating oaks (Quercus L.) on mesic and hydric sites has remained a problem largely because of inadequate density and poor distribution of large oak advance reproduction prior to harvesting. We examined the effect of midstory and understory removal on the establishment and 3-year development of natural and artificial sources of pin oak (Q. palustris Muenchh.) advance reproduction in bottomland forests in southeastern Missouri, USA. Midstory and understory removals increased the photosynthetically-active radiation (PAR) reaching the seedling layer from about 3 to 15%. This increased light did not increase the density of natural pin oak advance reproduction compared to control, but it increased the survival and nominally increased the growth of the natural pin oak advance reproduction. Where the midstory and understory had been removed, underplanted RPM® container stock and bareroot pin oak stock maintained high survival, but of the two only the RPM® stock maintained positive height and diameter growth while bareroot stock suffered some growth reductions. Pin oaks originating from the direct seeding of stratified acorns sown in the spring had low germination and survival, but the survivors had growth rates similar to those of natural seedlings in thinned stands. Applying triclopyr to competitors in the ground flora layer only nominally increased PAR but reduced the percent survival and marginally increased the growth of natural and artificial pin oak. We conclude that artificial reproduction may be used to further increase the probability of achieving adequate numbers of the desired species in the future. Bareroot seedlings may not perform as well as RPM® seedlings and natural seedlings already present. However, bareroot and RPM® seedlings remained significantly larger than the natural seedlings after 3 years.
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