The ability to restore American chestnut (Castanea dentata) through the planting of blight-resistant (Cryphonectria parasitica) trees is currently being tested. Forest-based research on the species’ silvicultural requirements and chestnut blight development are lacking. Pure American chestnut seedlings were planted in a two-age shelterwood forest with low residual basal area and in a midstory-removal treatment with high residual basal area. Survival did not differ between silvicultural treatments and averaged 67 percent across both treatments by the fifth year. Trees in the two-age shelterwood were 2.36 m and 16.8 mm larger in height and ground-line diameter, respectively, compared to trees in the midstory-removal by the fifth growing season. Blight occurrence was not affected by silvicultural treatment. Exploratory analyses indicated that seedling grading at planting and keeping trees free-to-grow through competition control would have resulted in a two-year gain in height and GLD growth in the two-age shelterwood treatment. The two-age shelterwood represented the most efficacious prescription for chestnut restoration, but the midstory-removal prescription may offer a reasonable alternative in areas where harvesting must be delayed.
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