Research

Breeding

Northern Red Oak (group selec and gap, east TN and nc tests, 3 Images)

Group Selection and Gap Study - The gap study consists of genetically improved Northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings planted in various forest gap sizes in western Tennessee. The study is located on Ames Plantation fifty miles Southwest of Memphis. Seedlings were selected from a Northern red oak orchard on the plantation containing locally adapted, genetically superior parent trees. They were initially planted by family in the Flint River State Nursery, Georgia on December 2001. After one growing season the seedlings were lifted, measured, and culled in January 2002. The largest, healthiest seedlings were selected for planting in west Tennessee. Forest gaps were created using a group selection cut resulting in nine large gaps ranging from two to three acres, and ten small gaps that resulted from the removal of a few trees. Each gap is unique in size, shape, elevation and configuration. Seedlings were planted in these gaps in April 2002. Seventeen seedlings were planted in the smallest gaps, and as many as 189 seedlings were planted in the largest gaps. A total of 1,260 seedlings were planted.
Height and diameter were measured as an indication of the performance of each seedling. These measurements are taken after each growing season in January. The most recent measurements showed the tallest seedlings were 340 cm. Photosynthetically active radiation was also measured at each seedling in order to describe the variable light regime in each plot. Competition was quantified for each gap and at each tree. Woody species such as tulip-poplar, rock elm, sycamore, and sweet gum dominate the gaps in addition to Japan grass as an invasive herbaceous species. Soil composition is to be analyzed as well. Each variable is to be analyzed for relationships with the performance of each tree. The final outcome will be forestry prescriptions that link the genetic family to a set of conditions in a particular location of a forest gap for optimal growth and development.

Oak Sites US Military Academy

US Military Academy Study - Genetic tests of northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) have been established on the reservation of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Acorns were collected from individual trees on the reservation during the 2001, 2002, and 2003 fall seasons and sent the UT-TIP for processing prior to planting. The seedlots were taken to the Georgia Forestry Commission's Flint River Nursery and planted by genetic family. After one year of growth, the seedlings were lifted and evaluated for height, root collar diameter, and number of first-order lateral roots (2003 crop only). The best seedlings were selected from each genetic family and divided into an incomplete block, single tree plot experimental design per information on planting sites sent by the Academy's Natural Resource Branch personnel. Each year, the sites have consisted of forest openings of varying size and small forest gaps. To date over 3000 pedigreed seedlings have been planted. Growth measurements will be related to site parameters, such as light, and seedling genotypes.

Oak planting image

East Tennessee - NC Tests - Genetic tests of northern red oak were established during the 2001 – 2004 planting seasons on the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests and the Gill and Dupont State Forests in North Carolina. The seedlings came from open-pollinated families gathered at the Watauga Northern Red Oak Seed Orchard on the Cherokee National Forest. The acorns were planted at the Georgia Forestry Commission's Flint River Nursery and grown under protocols developed by Dr. Paul P. Kormanik (USDA Forest Service, retired). The 1-0 (one year old) seedlings were lifted in February of each planting year and transported to Knoxville for evaluation. Height, root collar diameter, and number of first-order lateral roots (2001-2003 only) were measured, and each seedling was given an individual identification tag. The seedlings were planted in an incomplete block design, using single-tree plots. North Carolina State Forests' plantings were established in cooperation with Mr. Ron Myers, Hardwood Specialist, North Carolina Division of Natural Resources. Survival and growth are being periodically evaluated in each test.