Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Studies of bottomland forest restoration in the southeastern United States indicate that success can be improved by protecting planted tree seedlings from herbivores and controlling competing vegetation. Reforesting “isolated” depressional wetlands may present different challenges: growing-season ponding may expose seedlings to flooding stress, and competition control may be undesirable because developing herbaceous cover is often a restoration goal in these wetlands. We evaluated a low-effort approach for reforesting degraded Coastal Plain depressions with wetland tree species. In eight wetlands that were restored by clearing out successional vegetation and plugging drainage ditches, we planted seedlings of swamp tupelo (Nyssa biflora) and baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) in alternating rows at 15-ft (5-m) spacing. Heights at planting averaged 22 inches (0.5 m) and 41 inches (1 m), respectively. After four years, survival averaged 79 percent for baldcypress, but only 23 percent for tupelo. Most tupelos died during the first two years, likely from a combination of flooding followed by drought stress and competition from emergent vegetation. After four years, average height of baldcypress was 55–98 inches (140–250 cm), while tupelo averaged 28–70 inches (70–170 cm). Baldcypress was successfully established with little effort, whereas the tupelo appeared more sensitive to ponding conditions. Existing guidelines for bottomland forest restoration recommend a minimum tree seedling height of 18 inches (46 cm). However, in depressional wetlands that are ponded during the growing season, using taller seedlings or preferentially planting into shallow-water zones may improve survival.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Sharitz, Rebecca R.; Barton, Christopher D.; De Steven, Diane. 2006. Tree plantings in depression wetland restorations show mixed success (South Carolina). Ecological Restoration, Vol. 24(2): 114-115

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page