Oak Savannah Restoration—The First Year After a Control Burn

in HortScience
Authors:
Brian IrishDepartment of Horticulture, 316 Plant Sciences, Fayetteville, AR 72701

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Laurin WheelerDepartment of Horticulture, 316 Plant Sciences, Fayetteville, AR 72701

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A control burn was conducted in a mixed black oak—white oak—post oak stand to determine the effectiveness of fire at removing midstory and understory trees. The midstory and understory was predominately invading species of red maple, dogwood, black cherry, black gum, and mockernut hickory with lesser amounts of canopy species—black oak, white oak, post oak, and blackjack oak. A total of 17,000 stems/ha were top killed. All stems below 10 cm (15,600 stems/ha) were killed and all of the invading species were all top killed. Large black oak (greater than 20 cm) were killed by hypoxylon which may or may not have been related to fire. Soil pH increased from 4.6 (before) to 5.7 after the burn. The litter layer was almost completely removed. The biomass of the litter layer the year after the burn was 23% of the biomass before burning. Herbaceous plants began to invade the site in the first summer.

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