United StatesDepartment ofAgricultureForest ServiceNortheasternAreaState & PrivateForestryCrop TreeField GuideNA-TP-10-01Selecting and ManagingCrop Trees in theCentral Appalachians
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Crop TreeField GuideSelecting and ManagingCrop Treesin the Central AppalachiansArlyn W. PerkeyandBrenda L. WilkinsNortheastern AreaState and Private ForestryUSDA Forest ServiceMorgantown, WV 26505October 2001
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSCompletion of this publication would not have been possible withoutthe assistance of many colleagues, some of whom were givingadvice when they didn’t know it. Gary Miller, Clay Smith (retired),and John Baumgras from the Northeastern Research Station areongoing sources of reliable information. Rod Whiteman with theNortheastern Area has contributed vital information from demonstration areas on federal land. Without Ken Carvell (retired) and RayHicks from West Virginia University, Division of Forestry, our understanding of the ecology of the central Appalachian forest would notbe advanced to the degree it is today. Thank you Cynthia Huebnerfor your help with the hickories.George Freeman and Richard Potts reviewed the publication fromthe perspective of well-informed landowners who, along with foresters and other natural resource professionals, are the target audience. Their insight into the needs of landowners is invaluable.Thank you Ann Steketee, Nancy Lough, and Helen Wassick for all ofyour dedicated assistance preparing this product and distributing itto clients. Without your commitment to customer service, wewouldn’t be able to deliver to our readers.Thanks to state service foresters, private forest consultants, extension foresters, and industrial landowner assistance program foresters who work tirelessly with private landowners. With the turnover inland ownership, it often seems like the task of providing landownereducation and on-the-ground technical assistance is never ending.To date, we have reached only a small percentage of the landowning public. Thank you for not giving up; current and future generations need your help.Finally, thank you to the private landowners who manage their landresponsibly to accomplish your goals while producing benefits forsociety. It appears we will be relying on you to produce an evenlarger portion of the goods and services we demand from ourforests. If the percentage of landowners who actively manage theirforestland is going to increase, your leadership will be required tomake it happen.
TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction . 1Using this Publication . 3Black Cherry .11White Ash . 17Yellow-Poplar . 21Northern Red Oak . 25Black Walnut . 31Sugar Maple . 35Red Maple . 39American Beech . 43White Oak . 47Chestnut Oak . 53Scarlet Oak . 57Black Oak . 61Shagbark Hickory . 67Mockernut Hickory . 71Pignut Hickory . 73Bitternut Hickory . 75Summary . 78Appendix A . 81Appendix B . 83Appendix C . 85Appendix D . 88Appendix E . 93Sources of Information . 94
Photographs by Arlyn W. Perkey (except as noted)Graphics by Nancy A. LoughEditor: Brenda L. WilkinsTwo excellent dendrology web sites granted permission for use of photographs.They are:Trees of Alabama and the SoutheastAuburn UniversityAuburn, AlabamaDr. Lisa Samuelson, Mike Hogan, and Tom StokesSchool of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesPhotography by Mike Hogan and Todd pecies list.htmandUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadison, WisconsinMichael W. ClaytonDepartment of BotanyPhotography by Michael Clayton and Darrin Kimblerwisc.edu/botit/img/
INTRODUCTIONThis field guide was developed as an aid for foresters andlandowners to facilitate selection of crop trees in the application of Crop Tree Management in the centralAppalachian region ofthe United States. Managers familiar with thepublication, Crop TreeManagement In EasternHardwoods, will find thispublication to be aCrop Tree Management promotes goodsource of additionalstewardship of the forest resource. Itguidance and informaoffers landowners the opportunity tomanage their woodland for multiple usestion useful in selectingthat will benefit themselves and society.crop trees to accomplishdesired landowner goals such as timber production, improvedwildlife habitat, and enhanced aesthetic benefits.Based on research at the Fernow Experimental Forest, observations and growth data from several crop tree demonstrationareas, and published sources of information, this guide provides greater detail for 16 individual species commonlyselected as crop trees.The map on the following page delineates the central Appalachian region where this guide is most applicable. Although itmay be useful beyond the boundaries indicated, users outsideof this zone must evaluate the relevancy according to theirlocal growing conditions.1Selecting and Managing Crop Trees in the Central Appalachians
Area of ApplicabilityCentral Appalachian Regionof the United States2Crop Tree Field Guide
USING THIS PUBLICATIONFor ease of use, the 16 species covered in this guide are subdivided into four categories reflecting their frequency of association and the tendency for people to think of them as a group.For example, the CAP (Cherry, Ash, and Poplar) species areoften found in coves in association with northern red oak and,occasionally, black walnut. The northern hardwoods are oftenfound on cool sites. The dry site oaks and hickories are frequently neighbors. This organization makes it easier for theuser to find information on trees on a given site. Just as theyare commonly found growing together in nature, they are foundclose to each other in this publication.Cool, Moist SitesCAP-NRO-BWNorthern HardwoodsBlack CherryWhite AshYellow-PoplarNorthern Red OakBlack WalnutSugar MapleRed MapleAmerican BeechWarm, Dry Sites3Dry Site OaksHickoriesWhite OakChestnut OakScarlet OakBlack OakShagbarkMockernutPignutBitternutSelecting and Managing Crop Trees in the Central Appalachians
GeneralInformation Note:There are manyoccasions whenspecies from one groupwill be found in association with species fromanother. For example,red maple is oftenfound on dry sites inassociation with dry siteoaks and hickories.However, in theselocations, it is less likelyto have characteristicsthat will make it atimber crop treecandidate. Similarly,black walnut is frequently found on oldpasture, upland siteswhere it was a successful competitor. However, it seldom growsrapidly or producesquality products onthese dry sites. Conversely, dry site oaksand hickories (especially bitternut) arefound on moist sites.Because they producehard mast (acorns andnuts), they may beconsidered valuablewildlife crop trees inthese areas wherewinter-storable food isat a premium.4Crop Tree Field Guide These categories are very general groupings of species on thesites where they are best adaptedto being competitive and producing the highest value timberproducts.To aid species identification,photographs featuring bark, bud,and leaf characteristics areincluded on the index pages thatprecede each species section.For some species, a picture offlower and fruit is also shown.For most species, pole-size andlarger trees can be identified byexamining the bark. However,some of the hickories are anexception. Appendix D offershelp in identifying the tight-barkhickories.For some species, it is reasonable to imply general growthrate from the appearance of thebark. Where this is possible,photos that contrast growth ratesare included to help the userassess crop tree potential andresponse.
Each species covered in this guide is described according to itspotential to be selected as a timber, wildlife, and aesthetic croptree. This information provides the basis for evaluation ofindividual trees according to the characteristics that qualify itfor any of these three categories. It is possible that a tree mighthave qualities that place it in two, or even all three, crop treecategories.The following format is used to give crop tree managers aneasy way to locate this information by species.Timber Crop Tree Notes – Unit Value Growth Rate – usually expressed as diameter atbreast height (dbh) growth in inches per decade Quality Comments – for some species Health Issues Natural RegenerationWildlife Crop Tree Notes – Mast Production Cavity Formation – for some speciesAesthetic Crop Tree Notes – Fall Foliage Spring Blossoms – for two species Size, Shape, or Form – for some species5Selecting and Managing Crop Trees in the Central Appalachians
General Information Note:Since the 16 species detailed in this guide tend to form root graftswith trees of the same species, caution must be used whenapplying herbicide to competing trees. Translocation of herbicidecan occur, causing damage to the crop tree (backflash). Reactionsto different herbicides varies among species, so it is best to becautious about which herbicide to use with the individual speciesbeing treated. Caution in choosing the type of herbicide injectedcan reduce the risk of backflash. It is critical to read the labelcarefully. Consultation with professionals who have experiencewith injecting herbicides is also recommended.For silvicultural treatments like site preparation for natural regeneration, it is possible to use backflash to great advantage. Forexample, where it may be desirable to deaden most of the maplein a given area, the tendency to backflash may facilitate accomplishing that objective. In this instance, it may be prudent tochoose a herbicide that readily translocates through root grafts.Herbicide information changes as new products are developed andlabeled. Current advice is available in Herbicide Hardwood CropTree Release in Central West Virginia (Kochenderfer, et. al. - seeSources of Information on page 94). Online information is available at Ohio State University http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/index.html July 17, 2001.In this publication, where the terms sapling, pole, and small,medium, and large sawtimber are used, they are referring totree size classes as described below.Tree Size ClassSaplingPoleSmall SawtimberMedium SawtimberLarge Sawtimber6Crop Tree Field GuideDiameter at Breast Height (inches)2-46-1012-1416-2020
The majority of the information provided in this guide isapplicable to releasing crop trees that are at least 25 feet tall.However, a section on natural regeneration is included becausein some instances it is critical for crop tree managers to integrate regeneration considerations into crop tree selection andmanagement decisions. For most central Appalachian hardwood species (yellow-poplar is the exception), regeneration isa process, not an event. These species often require severalyears to build up (the process) an inventory of well establishedseedlings prior to a significant disturbance that releases thoseseedlings. In contrast, yellow-poplar regeneration is usually inresponse to a single event (disturbance) that occurs at a specific point in time.When most of the crop trees are within 15 to 20 years ofmaturity, it is important to consider what actions may beneeded to facilitate the process of establishing desirable regeneration. Examples include deadening midstory and understoryvegetation to provide suitable seedbeds, adjustment of treatments to coincide with bumper seed crops, and protection ofseeds and seedlings from deer.When cutting activities are performed for any hardwoodspecies, it is impotant to cut low stumps (1 foot high or less) toincrease the probability of having the highest quality sprouts.Projected time to maturity can be estimated using the growthrate tables in Appendix C. For example, red oaks that arecurrently 15 inches dbh and expected to grow 3.6 inches perdecade, are projected to be over 20 inches dbh in 15 years.Regardless of crop tree age and time from maturity, it is criticalto retain trees that can provide a high-quality source of seed for7Selecting and Managing Crop Trees in the Central Appalachians
the establishment of future crop trees. Information in Appendix E can be used to anticipate the seed longevity in the soil,frequency of good seed crops, initial seed-bearing age, optimum seed-bearing age, and longevity of trees.For all 16 species, it is important to remember that the greatestseed production is on trees with vigorous crowns that arereceiving full sunlight.For each species, there are comments on health issues that areparticularly relevant for that species. However, some healthissues are more widespread and affect the whole forest. Grazing by domestic livestock affects the health and quality ofgrowing crop trees and the establishment of the next generationof crop trees. To grow high-quality hardwood timber croptrees in the centralAppalachian region,grazing by livestockis generally not acompatible use.Information in thisguide is based onthe assumption thatlivestock is excluded from thewoods.Deer exclosures in areas of high deer populationare often necessary to provide protection fromexcessive deer browsing.A high deer population can seriouslyinterfere with the regeneration of many species. At moderatelyhigh levels, deer can shift the competitive advantage to speciesthat are low on the browse preference list. The long-termsolution to this problem is a reduction in the size of the deer8Crop Tree Field Guide
herd. For the short term, crop tree managers whose objectivesinclude establishing regeneration may need to provide protection from excessive deer browsing. Currently, the most commonly used methods of protection are fencing and tree shelters.In the central Appalachians, invasive exotic plants are anincreasing threat to the establishment of regeneration. Theseweeds are usually most effectively able to spread during timesof disturbance. When the forest canopy is opened, the additional sunlight on the forest floor provides opportunities forthese aggressive plants to crowd native species. If there issignificant threat that an invasive species can expand, it isrecommended that the weed be contained prior to extensiveopening of the canopy.The Ailanthus pictured here was injected with herbicide to killboth the roots and top of this aggressive invader. Notice theAilanthus on the right that still has green leaves. This“missed tree” will necessitate a follow-up treatment.9Selecting and Managing Crop Trees in the Central Appalachians
Appendices A and B provide graphics that will help users ofthis guide understand how to apply a crown-touching release toselected crop trees and how to adjust the intensity of cutting byadjusting the number of crop trees released. Appendix Cprovides a tally sheet and growth comparison charts that can beused to monitor crop tree growth. Appendix D gives information to help distinguish among the tight-bark hickories, andAppendix E provides seed production and tree longevityinformation.It is hoped that the information contained in this guide willequip those working in the central Appalachian region ofthis country with the best information available for applying Crop Tree Management principles to benefit privateforest landowners and society.Many private landowners are unaware of the benefits theirforestland can provide to them. Crop Tree Management is aneasily understood system that facilitates communicationbetween forestry professionals and woodland owners.10Crop Tree Field Guide
BLACK CHERRYBlack cherry is found on a variety of sites in the central Appalachians, but it grows best on cool, moist sites where theclimate provides precipitation throughout the year. It is intolerant of shade, but seedlings are more tolerant than older trees.Leaves are simple,alternate, elliptical,and finely toothed. Apair of glands on thepetiole near the leafbase are a distinguishing feature.Fruit is initially green,turning purple-blackat maturity.Bark is thin andsmooth with horizontal lenticels whenyoung; its color isolive-brown toreddish-brown (left).As the tree growsolder, it developsscales with recurved edges thatbecome flaky(right).
Flowers are white and attractively complement freshgreen foliage in the spring.Buds are about 1/5inch long. They arecovered with shiny,reddish-brown togreen coloredscales. The twigsare red-brown andhave a waxy bloom.
BLACK CHERRYBLACKCHERRYTimber Crop Tree Notes –Unit Value: The per unit value of black cherry is veryhigh, especially within the portions of its geographicrange where it has traditionally grown into high-qualitytrees. Black cherry grows in many states in the easternUnited States, but it is most valuable in all or portionsof Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, andwestern Maryland.Growth Rate: Black cherry grows on a wide range ofsites, but is commercially most valuable on cool, moistsites. Its early rapid height growth frequently providesan advantage over competing species. Only yellowpoplar has faster height growth on the best sites.This pole-size black cherry isgrowing at the rate of 1.8 inches perdecade. Notice the abundance ofjuvenile bark (lenticels visible) andthe absence of red stretch marksbetween bark flakes.11This released, pole-size black cherryis growing at the rate of 3.5 inchesper decade. Stretch marks betweenbark flakes indicate the trunk’ssurface area is expanding relativelyrapidly.Selecting and Managing Crop Trees in the Central Appalachians
On good sites, if it has a healthy, vigorous crown that isfree-to-grow on three or four sides, black cherry can beexpected to grow 2 to 4 inches per decade in diameterup to 50 years of age. After 50, it may still respond torelease, but its diameter
This field guide was developed as an aid for foresters and landowners to facilitate selection of crop trees in the applica-tion of Crop Tree Man-agement in the central Appalachian region of the United States. Man-agers familiar with the publication, Crop Tree Management In Eastern Hardwoods, will find this publication to be a source of additional