• Oak seedling establishment on California rangelands

      Adams, T. E.; Sands, P. B.; Weitkamp, W. H.; McDougald, N. K. (Society for Range Management, 1992-01-01)
      Factors responsible for poor recruitment of blue oak (Quercus douglasii H. & A.) and valley oak (Q. lobata Nee) need to be determined on California hardwood rangelands so that management strategies for enhancement of recruitment can be developed. To examine selected factors, exclusive of large herbivore impacts, a series of acorn seeding experiments was initiated in 1985 in 6 counties on representative sites. At each site, the experimental treatments were the factorial combination of herbs vs. no herbs and screen protection vs. no protection. The experimental design was 4 randomized complete blocks of the herb treatments with each main plot split for the 2 levels of protection. Rainfall and edaphic factors were used to help interpret measures of seedling emergence, survival, and growth. Herbaceous plant control for reduction of moisture stress was the most important factor examined. Emergence was significantly improved by control in nearly 80% of blue oak seedings and in 33% of valley oak seedings. Average first year survival, expressed as a percent of acorns sown, was significantly improved with control in seedings of both blue oak (33% vs. 18%) and valley oak (45% vs. 21%). Limited data suggest the difference in survival remains consistent over time as overall survival declines. With few exceptions, the addition of screen protection discouraged predation and significantly enhanced survival and growth. Window screen cages also may have contributed an unmeasured shade effect.