Gardening The Beech: Balancing Two Options
A ForestConnect presentation, 19 May 2021
By Ralph D. Nyland and Stacy A. McNulty
Many landowners and natural resources managers wonder what to do about American beech and the dense root sucker understories that developed in the wake of tree mortality related to Beech Bark Disease. Beech suckers interfere with establishment and development of tree seedlings and many herbs. They reduce ecological diversity, diminish wildlife habitat and long-term timber production, and affect many other ecosystem benefits. Those losses suggest a strategy to reduce or remove beech from the forest. Yet many birds and mammals use beechnuts as a key food, and beechnut abundance influences wildlife population dynamics. That recommends for retention and enhancement of nut-producing beech trees. So what to do? We suggest a compromise based on techniques for selecting and managing resistant and tolerant trees and clones, while reducing susceptible ones.
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