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Hardwood Trees & Management

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February 8, 2019

Announcer: Forum and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today, we're talking about hardwood trees and management. Hello, I'm Amy Taylor Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today, we're speaking with Dr. Randy Rousseau, Mississippi State University extension hardwoods specialists. Randy, today you want to talk about hardwood trees, care, and management. This seems like a lot to cover.

Randy Rousseau: Amy, you're right. But I think if I hit the highlights then it should provide enough information that those listening to us could either give me a call or look at the forest extension website, which has a lot of information on hardwood trees.

Amy Myers: Where should we start with this?

Randy Rousseau: We need to start at the beginning. With hardwood trees, unlike the four or five pound species will have in the south, we have a wide variety of hardwood species with over 20 of those species being a commercial value. There are also a lot of smaller hardwood species that have ornamental value, such as flowering dogwood, eastern red buds, so as you can see that we could spend a lot of time just talking about the various species and where they should be planted or not planted. So, I thought that we would narrow it down to a very limited species that are both excellent hardwood trees for wildlife as well as commercial value.

Probably the first species that most people want to talk about is about oak species. Over the last couple of decades, a tremendous amount of acreage has been planted to primarily oaks through the NRCS conservation reserve program or the Wetlands Reserve Program. In Mississippi, these plans are primarily located in the delta. Soil type, water drainage will dictate the species that should be planet. If the soil is heavy clay and does not drain well, species such as nutall oak and overcup oak would be recommended species. If the soil has a little better drain that you can use species like water oak or willow oak, and the better deeper soil types that drawing well, you could put cherry bark oak and swamp chestnut oak, which are your premier two oak species.

Because a lot of these oak species were planted with the vision that the trees will produce acorns for various game species, many people didn't understand that it really takes time to get to that position and a normal planning space if we're in woodland setting, there's about 12x12 foot spacing, it would take at least 25 to 30 years to get production of acorns and so many people are still worried about what they should do to increase acorn production.

Amy Myers: Why does it take so long to produce acorns?

Randy Rousseau: A lot of it has to do with the amount of growing space. Each tree when planted outlet. If these oak trees were planted at a wide spacing, say 20x30 foot spacing, of which is similar to what you're singing, house settings, acorn production can be as early as 10 years and this type of situation, the height growth, is much less than what you would have in the woods setting, but [diarodo 00:02:55] growth has really increased due to the lack competition among other trees.

That's why most people, when they look at their trees in their yard, they greatly over estimate the age of the tree and they are looking primarily at the diameter of the tree. In a more typical setting with forest planning, well it could go from a 10x10 or as I said, a 12x12, which is also the spacing that is actually a design for the conservation planning result that the trees will actually accentuate their height growth. And then diameter is actually somewhat reserved, because there's more upward movement to get more sunlight for the synthetic capacity and continue to grow is the key aspect. As a result, trees did not have any excess energy really to put into acorn production.

In order to alleviate this problem, the stand will need to be thinned and decreased tree to tree competition, allowing the trees to have much longer live crown and thus increasing diameter and having additional energy to place into acorn production. The thinning should be initially reduce on the number of trees and then followed later by a thinning of the larger trees that are producing acorns, because that will enhance the food source for the wildlife.

Also, care should be taken exactly what trees you want to leave, such for enhancement of a wildlife value. As your trees, you'll probably want some aesthetic value, no matter what your planning oaks in your yard or in a forest setting, you need to eliminate, the weed or grass competition as much as possible during the first and second years after planning.

Fortunately for oaks that can spray directly over top of the tree with two ounces per acre rate, and this controls the weeds as long as the trees haven't budded out. If you want to use Roundup, you have to be extremely careful in your application so that none of the chemical gets on the trees because you might wind up losing some of your trees

Amy Myers: Today, we've been speaking with Randy Rousseau, hardwoods specialists. I'm Amy Tyler Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Forestry

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