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Radial shakes and "frost cracks" in living oak treesAuthor(s): Heinz Butin; Alex L. Shigo
Source: Res. Pap. NE-478. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 21p.
Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)
Station: Northeastern Research Station
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DescriptionDissections of hundreds of living, mature oak trees over a 25-year period revealed that radial shakes (or "frost cracks") and ring shakes are associated with a variety of wounds and stubs of branches and basal sprouts. A more intensive study of radial shakes that included dissections of more than 30 oaks confirmed the earlier finds, and provided additional data on radial shakes. Radial shakes were most common in mature oaks that had been wounded, and where basal sprouts died when the dominant tree was less than 20 cm in diameter at 1.4 m aboveground. Radial shakes-frost cracks-are not caused by frost, though frost can be a major factor in their continued development. Radial shakes can be prevented by proper management procedures that minimize basal wounds and by early pruning of branches and basal sprouts.
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CitationButin, Heinz; Shigo, Alex L. 1981. Radial shakes and "frost cracks" in living oak trees. Res. Pap. NE-478. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 21p.
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