Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beech Control: Options for Management

I had the opportunity this week to meet with a number of foresters from Land Vest in NW Pennsylvania.  The meeting was to discuss options for American beech (Fagus grandifolia) control in black cherry stands.  Beech is a shade tolerant, root suckering species that is dominant in northern hardwood forest understories.  With beech bark disease moving south across Pennsylvnia it has only compounded the problem.  The disease kills the parent tree increasing the amount of root suckering.

We were particularly interested in manual herbicide methods of control, in particular using a method called "Hack and Squirt."  This method uses a hatchet to chop frill cuts through the bark at a convenient height conpletely around the tree.  A concentrated herbicide solution in then squirted into the frills.  By leaving spaces between our cuts or essentially leaving phloem cells intact the thought was that we might get better translocation to the roots thus increasing our success at controlling understory root suckers from the parent tree.

Here is a link to a short video we produced demonstrating the method while at the site.
Beech Control, Three Trees, With Hack and Squirt

We hope to collect some preliminary results from these applications by the end of the growing season to determine if a more detailed study is waranted.

In looking into this a bit further I came across a research paper put out by a number of US Forest Service research foresters.  The researchers utilized two manual chemical treatments, hack & squirt and basal bark, to study their effectiveness and cost at controlling beech.  The results showed that both treatments were very effective at controlling beech.  However, when comparing the cost of application they found the basal bark application to be much more expensive in labor and chemical costs.
Preharvest Manual Herbicide Treatments for Controlling American Beech in Central West Virginia

Lastly, here is another great publication put out by the same US Forest Service researchers.  This publication illustrates the many methods of manual herbicide applications and provides herbicide specific treatment information.  It is a very useful publication for any land/vegetation manager.
Manual Herbicide Application Methods for Managing Vegetation in Appalachian Hardwood Forests

If anyone had experience in managing beech root suckers using the hack and squirt method please let me know what your experience has been and if you felt it was effective.

No comments: