Importance of Hardwoods
Simply put, hardwood trees, also called deciduous trees, are those that lose their leaves every year. In Virginia, 80% of forests, or 12.6 million acres, are made up of hardwood or mixed hardwood-pine. Nearly 100 species of native hardwood trees grow in Virginia, including oak, hickory, yellow-poplar, maple, walnut, sweetgum, sycamore and dogwood.
Hardwoods are important and valued for many reasons. They provide the raw materials for furniture, flooring, cabinets, pallets, railroad ties, fine paper and much more. Crucial to wildlife for food, shelter and nesting, hardwood trees also play a critical role in protecting watersheds by filtering water, providing clean air, and capturing and storing large amounts of carbon. Whether light green in the early spring, or brilliantly colored in the fall, hardwoods provide outstanding scenic views and outdoor recreation for which Virginia is famous.
Benefits of Management
Forest management is the skillful use of practices (such as thinning or prescribed burning) to accomplish a desired objective. Common objectives include the following:
- Wildlife habitat
- Increasing value and commercial harvesting
- Improving water quality
To meet these objectives, forestry professionals prescribe management practices. Centuries of implementation and research show that managed forests promote ecosystem health, boost air and water quality and create habitat for wildlife species that require forestland in various successional stages. Whatever your objectives may be, we have the resources and tools to guide you.
Learn more about hardwood management practices.
Trouble for Hardwoods
Virginia’s hardwood forests are in decline. Due to a lack of proper management over the last several decades, mature trees are not being replaced by new ones. This process is called regeneration, and without it, native biodiversity diminishes, and invasive species spread. To reverse this decline, a statewide improvement of hardwood management is needed. The hardwood initiative is DOF’s answer.
Learn more about the hardwood initiative.
Get started managing your hardwood forest.
|Crop Tree Release Improves Competitiveness of Northern Red Oak Growing in Association with Black Cherry||NJAF 23(2)|
In 1993, a crop tree study was established in a pole-sized stand consisting of black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.) and northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.). Ten-year mean height growth of northern red oak exceeded that of released black cherry, but not that of unreleased black cherry crop trees. Crown expansion and diameter at breast height (dbh) growth also increased as a result of crop tree release for both species, but black cherry clear stem development was suppressed. Based on increment core analysis, dbh growth of released northern red oak crop trees in 2003 was about twice that of unreleased northern red oak, although black cherry treatment related differences in radial growth were no longer present. Ten years after crop tree release, northern red oak crown class distribution improved and black cherry crown class distribution was unchanged. These results suggest crop tree management will improve northern red oak competitiveness in pole-sized stands when growing in association with black cherry and, perhaps, other fast growing species. By Thomas M. Schuler.
|DOF Hardwood Sustainablity Strategy|
Summary document of DOF’s hardwood sustainability strategy, including a description of hardwood resources, concerns and issues, and strategies.
|Effect of Thinning on Height and Diameter Growth of Oak and Yellow-Poplar Saplings||NE-173|
Studying the response to thinning of a 7- to 9-year-old upland hardwood sapling stand, we found that height growth of yellow-poplar and oak trees was markedly reduced by heavy thinning. This suggests that stand density should be carefully controlled to achieve maximum benefit from thinnings in very young stands. By Rufus H. Allen, Jr. and David A. Marquis.
|Evaluating Initial Responses of Natural and Underplanted Oak Reproduction and a Shade-Tolerant Competitor to Midstory Removal|
This study describes growth 6 years after mid-story removal of planted and natural black oak, northern red oak, and white oak, and natural red maple competition. Article bySociety of American Foresters. Forest Science, Volume 60, Issue 6, December 2014, Pages 1164–1171.
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|Hardwood Initiative – Improving Hardwood Forests for Future Generations||FT0061|
Forestry topic information sheet provides information about Department of Forestry’s hardwood initiative to bring focus to improving hardwood forests for future generations.
|Hardwood Initiative Cost-Share Program – Cost Assistance for Hardwood Management||FT0071|
Forestry topic information sheet provides information about Department of Forestry’s Hardwood Initiative Cost-Share Program, who is eligible and what qualifies for cost share.
|Hardwood Initiative Tax Credit Program – Offering Tax Incentives for Hardwood Management||FT0062|
Forestry topic information sheet provides information about Department of Forestry’s Hardwood Initiative Tax Credit Program, who is eligible and what qualifies for the tax credit.
|Hardwood Management Practices – Improving Hardwood Forests with Proper Forest Management||FT0070|
Forestry topic information sheet provides information about various hardwood management practices that may be used during the establishment, regeneration and tending stages to improve hardwood forests.
|Hardwood Planting Guide||P00137|
Brochure illustrates and explains proper planting techniques for planting bare-root hardwood seedlings. Printed copies available.
|Intensity of Precommercial Crop-Tree Release Increases Diameter and Crown Growth in Upland Hardwoods||NE-197|
In 1988, seven study areas were established in Connecticut to examine the effects of precommercial crop tree release on bole and crown growth. Relative to unreleased trees, 4-yr diameter growth of northern red oak increased by 86%, black/scarlet oak by 65%, red maple by 56%, and black birch by 52%. Release slowed height growth of dominant and codominant oaks for only the first 2 yr. In sapling stands with few oaks in upper canopy positions, precommercial release could be used to augment oak density. Survival and diameter growth of oaks in the intermediate and suppressed crown classes increased with release intensity. Release also increased height growth of northern red oak in the suppressed crown classes. By Jeffrey S. Ward.
|Seedling Price Guide||P00139|
Brochure provides a listing of seedling species available for sale at our state Nurseries and current pricing. For more detailed species information and to order online, visit our Web Store. Printed copies available.
|Tree Seedling and Understory Plant Presence in Deer Exclosures on the Matthews State Forest||CNRE-138NP|
The purpose of this case study was to determine the impact of deer on the composition of the herbaceous and regeneration layer in two stands in the Matthews State Forest. This report summarizes the findings of this case study.
|Publication||View||forest-management nurseries research-resource-information state-forests resource-information||publication|
DOF foresters can assist you with your forestland, contact your local DOF forester.