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Author Topic: When to Coppice Red Oak  (Read 798 times)

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Offline g_man

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When to Coppice Red Oak
« on: July 12, 2019, 04:42:43 PM »
I bent over a tall spindly but other wise healthy looking Red Oak. It's about 3" in diameter at ground level. I am trying to promote Red Oak so rather than just cut it off I would like to give it the best chance to resprout if it can. So when would be the best time to cut it and how much sun would it need. We are pretty far north for Red Oak but it actually does very well on our site. Thanks

gg

Offline Legacy

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Re: When to Coppice Red Oak
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 02:39:05 PM »
Hey there G_man,
Great thought, I apply this on my own woodlot as well with poor-quality stems and have had some luck with quick growth including sugar maple, oak, and ash. Younger trees seem to respond better. A 3" stem ought to do well.

First off, I believe your answer is late winter/early spring--get to it before the buds start to swell, and the later the better just to cut down on the drying of the stump as my guess. Keeping the cambium healthy should improve the vigor of the sprouts, then you can choose the best and cut the rest.

Longer answer:
In the fall, the leaves turn color when the stem takes (salvages) the valuable nutrients. This works it's way down into the roots as well as the buds for leaf-out next year. The tree was also storing as much carbohydrate as possible during the growing season, so letting a damaged tree live out the season helps get more of that into the roots. This process reverses when the ground thaws and the sap flows, so cut your stem just before that happens and the roots will take the hint to provide a new top for flush.

H

Grow a nice tree

Offline BrandonTN

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Re: When to Coppice Red Oak
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2020, 03:03:36 PM »
g_man, in the case for your bent tree, if the tree is not snapped, then I'd wait until winter once the tree has already sent sugars down to the roots for the next spring bud break.

In the case for promoting red oak in general on your site, I'd suggest first determining if the site quality is suitable for red oak. If the site is too productive, other species more suited to productive sites will always out-compete oak seedlings, and oak won't stand a chance (for example, further south yellow poplar does this). The key to successful regeneration of northern red oak is to have sufficient numbers of large advance reproduction and potential oak stump sprouts to provide adequate oak stocking in the future.

How many oak seedlings are currently out there? If there are not many, then I would say your chances of getting red oaks to dominant/co-dominant in the canopy are not good for now.
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."- Ralph Emerson

Offline g_man

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Re: When to Coppice Red Oak
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2020, 07:41:37 PM »
Thanks for the replys. Good info. About 25 years ago my lot was cut hard by the previous owner just before he put it up for sale. There was some nice red oak on it in places before that and he left very few - nothing of value. The main hard wood regen (most to least) since that severe cut is Red Maple, W & Y birch, Aspen, Red Oak, Beech, Hard Maple. Where the oak exists it is out competing all but the Popple (Aspen). In some areas the Red Oak is in the mid story of balsam fir which responded to the open canopy after the big cut. In my mind it seemed promoting RO, where it showed vigor, over all but hard maple would be a good thing ?? 

gg

Offline BrandonTN

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Re: When to Coppice Red Oak
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2020, 01:15:13 AM »
Thanks for the replys. Good info. About 25 years ago my lot was cut hard by the previous owner just before he put it up for sale. There was some nice red oak on it in places before that and he left very few - nothing of value. The main hard wood regen (most to least) since that severe cut is Red Maple, W & Y birch, Aspen, Red Oak, Beech, Hard Maple. Where the oak exists it is out competing all but the Popple (Aspen). In some areas the Red Oak is in the mid story of balsam fir which responded to the open canopy after the big cut. In my mind it seemed promoting RO, where it showed vigor, over all but hard maple would be a good thing ??

gg
If the site had large dominant RO's on it before, it's probably a good site for oak.

Sounds like it's now dominated by shade tolerant trees (except for the aspen). Other than balsam fir, what else is in the canopy?

If you want RO in the canopy, you might need to clear out all shade-tolerants around them, and remove overtopping trees. Oak regen gets established under partial shade, and then ideally are released in sapling stage when it's 4ft tall or so. "Released" meaning taking out all competing trees in the the tree's immediate vicinity that are competing for light and water. Oaks are particular.

If the oaks in the midstory are 25 yrs old, you can try releasing them by removing the overtopping canopy trees around them and thinning other nearby shade-intolerants in its size class. If the released RO don't respond with growth into the canopy then you may have to start over with the oak regen and release them earlier. The crux of the problem with starting over by clearcutting would be, if you removed the canopy trees, there will be none to shade the resprouting oak regen. 

I'm currently working in CA, but I'm hoping soon to get back East soon to start working in eastern hardwoods (I went to school in TN, but i've only worked in forestry out West).


"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."- Ralph Emerson

Offline g_man

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Re: When to Coppice Red Oak
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2020, 09:55:17 AM »
Here is some typical stuff I am doing to promote RO in our long abused woods. Single tree releases like these two.



 



 



 

I cut all the stump rotten fir and a couple spruce and other deformed junk in this area to release 12 RO like the ones in the foreground. They are hard to pick out and half are off camera.



 



 



 

This is some Y Birch thinning I did last summer.



 

Maybe that will give you an idea of what I'm doing. My goal is to nudge this forest back towards something better than it is now as it recovers.

gg


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Estimating yield of new coppice plantings

Started by captainprog on Forestry and Logging

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Last post July 03, 2020, 12:53:29 PM
by mike_belben
 


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