Skip to Main Content
Origin, development, and impact of mountain laurel thickets on the mixed-oak forests of the central Appalachian Mountains, USAAuthor(s): Patrick H. Brose
Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 374: 33-41.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (770.0 KB)
DescriptionThroughout forests of the northern hemisphere, some species of ericaceous shrubs can form persistent understories that interfere with forest regeneration processes. In the Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) may interfere in the regeneration of mixed-oak (Quercus spp.) forests. To verify this possibility, I conducted a dendroecology study from 2001 to 2005 in three mixed-oak stands with mountain laurel thickets to elucidate how and when the thickets originated, developed, and were impacting hardwood seedlings. At all three sites, the oldest mountain laurel dated to the 1930s when the stands emerged from a period of recurring disturbance. However, most of the mountain laurel has originated since the 1950s when the stands were generally undisturbed. More recently, insect defoliations have accelerated the development of the thickets by increasing available sunlight. A strong negative relationship exists between the percent cover of mountain laurel and the density of hardwood seedlings with 20-30% cover being sufficient to inhibit seedling establishment and survival. Perpetuating mixed-oak forests that contain mountain laurel thickets will require reducing shrub cover to less than 20-30% at the beginning of the regeneration process to help ensure adequate densities of hardwood seedlings.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- 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.
CitationBrose, Patrick H. 2016. Origin, development, and impact of mountain laurel thickets on the mixed-oak forests of the central Appalachian Mountains, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 374: 33-41.
KeywordsDendrochronology, Forest regeneration, Kalmia latifolia, Quercus spp.
- An ecologically based approach to oak silviculture: a synthesis of 50 years of oak ecosystem research in North America
- An evaluation of seven methods for controlling mountain laurel thickets in the mixed-oak forests of the central Appalachian Mountains, USA
- A comparison of three foliar-applied herbicides for controlling mountain laurel thickets in the mixed-oak forests of the central Appalachian Mountains, USA
XML: View XML