Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Garland Ray Wells

Committee Members

Scott Schlarbaum, Otto Schwartz


Northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings, produced through the efforts of The University of Tennessee Tree Improvement Program, Tennessee Division of Forestry, and the USDA Forest Service, are currently available to landowners for planting. However, very little is known about the response of these seedlings when planted for reforestation purposes, such as on old fields. Areas of land in Tennessee which have been abandoned, or are considered unsuitable for row crops, may be suitable for the production of northern red oak. In an effort to begin establishing planting guidelines for these promising oaks, seedlings from nine different genetic families were planted in spring 1995 on formerly established grass plots on nine marginal soil series at five branch experiment stations in Tennessee. The potential of many sites for the artificial regeneration, or reforestation, of northern red oak possibly could be determined since the soils are representative (i.e. droughty, eroded, poorly drained, etc.) of marginal soils found throughout the state. The objective of this research was to determine whether graded 1+0 northern red oak seedlings would survive and grow on soils unsuitable for cultivated row crops. Should families show a range of responses, genotypes could be isolated that will perform best on various soils.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmermann) heavily browsed the planted seedlings regardless of location. An evaluation scheme was then developed so that browse damage could be efficiently rated in the field according to its severity. Significant differences in growth and survival were found among seedling groups at various levels of damage. Correspondingly, a second study was initiated in spring 1996 to determine whether similar seedlings, grown and graded under the same protocol and planted on old field sites, could be protected from white-tailed deer. Four commercial repellents were applied to field-planted 1+0 northern red oak seedlings from six different genetic families. Six treatments, including Tubex® 1.2 m tree shelters and an untreated control, were replicated three times at separate plots on the Chuck Swan Forest and Wildlife Management Area in Union County, Tennessee. Two months after planting, damage by deer was evident in all treatment areas except those seedlings in the tree shelters. Results from one growing season show that neither Tree Guard™ nor Pro-Tec Garlic Sticks conferred significant protection. Repellents were reapplied during the growing season. Three months after planting, the most heavily browsed seedlings were located in the control plots (81%), the Tree Guard™ plots (78%), and the Pro-Tec Garlic Stick plots (57%). Seedlings planted in tree shelters had not incurred any damage by deer.

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