Andrew Meier, Purdue University, Dept. of Forestry and Natural Resources, meiera@purdue.edu (Presenter)
Michael Saunders, Purdue University, Dept. of Forestry and Natural Resources, msaunder@purdue.edu


The development of epicormic branches in oak species (Quercus spp.) is an issue of concern for forest managers in much of the eastern US, where these species constitute a significant majority of the volume and value of standing timber. Epicormic branching has the potential to cause significant degrade in oak logs, especially following silvicultural treatments. Much of the scientific effort has focused on epicormic branching following thinning or harvesting; however, the number of epicormic branches that sprout is dependent upon the number and organization of already present epicormic structures. The number of epicormic structures is, in turn, dependent on a variety of factors including genetics, competitive status, and environmental variation. In this presentation, we describe the development of epicormic buds, starting with their initiation within a terminal or lateral bud on a young shoot and culminating with either bud mortality or epicormic branch formation. We also identify important research needs and provide practical considerations for forest managers to take into account that may help reduce the prevalence of epicormic branching in oak stands.