Flood Plain Topography Affects Establishment Success of Direct-Seeded Bottomland OaksThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Five bottomland oak species were direct seeded along a topographical gradient in a flood plain to determine if environmental factors related to relative position in the flood plain influenced seedling establishment and survival. Two years after installation of the plantation, seedling establishment rates ranged from 12±1.6 (mean ± standard error) percent for overcup oak ( Quercus lyrata Walt.) to 33±2.3 percent for Nuttall oak (Q. nuttallii Palmer). Germination and survival of swamp laurel oak (Q. laurifolia Michx.), willow oak (Q. phellos L.), and water oak (Q. nigra L.) ranked intermediate and averaged 21 percent. Nuttall oak seedlings averaged about 18.6±0.7 inches tall after two growing seasons, while shoot length of swamp laurel oak and water oak averaged 8.8±0.6 inches. Species rankings for growth of root-collar diameter tracked those for height growth. For a given species, logistic function models indicated that site factors associated with relative elevation in the flood plain strongly influenced seedling establishment and survival. Establishment and survival of all species responded positively to elevation. We summarize implications of our findings to afforestation and reforestation of alluvial flood plain sites within the context of site delineation and species assignments.