It prunes very well in closed stands. Although it produces epicormic sprouts when the bole is exposed, this trait is less pronounced than in many other hardwood species.
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Because of these growth characteristics, yellow-poplar stands can develop and produce considerable quantities of large, high-quality products with no intermediate stand management. In the seedling-sapling stage, dominant and codominant trees are little affected by thinning or cleaning 21, Intermediate or overtopped trees of good vigor respond to release in both diameter and height growth Cultural treatment of seedling-sapling stands is seldom needed or justified, however, except to remove vines By the time stands reach pole size at 20 to 30 years of age, the peak rates of growth and mortality are past and the crown canopy is closed.
Crown size on surviving trees is reduced and diameter growth is considerably slowed.
Thinnings that salvage or prevent mortality, increase the growth of residual trees, shorten rotations, and increase the yield of high-value timber products are the essence of intermediate stand management. The net result of numerous thinning experiments is that individual yellow-poplar trees tend to use the space and accelerate diameter increment 4,5,9, Response occurs across a wide range of sites and stand ages, even in stands as old as 80 years that have never been thinned previously.
Total cubic-volume growth is greatest at the highest densities and would be maximized by very light, frequent thinnings that prevent or salvage mortality. On the other hand, board-foot volume growth is maximum at densities well below those that maximize cubic-foot volume growth.
Board-foot growth is near maximum over a wide range of density. Thus, there is considerable leeway to manipulate stocking levels to achieve diameter growth and quality goals without sacrificing volume growth of the high-value products.
Damaging Agents- Yellow-poplar is unusually free from damage by pests compared with many other commercially important species. While more than 30 species of insects attack yellow-poplar, only 4 species are considered to have significant economic impact 8. The tuliptree scale Toumeyella liriodendri causes loss of vigor by removing large quantities of phloem sap. Scale attacks often kill leaders of seedlings and saplings causing them to be overtopped by competitors.
The yellow-poplar weevil Odontopus calceatus feeds on buds and foliage and may occur in outbreaks over large areas. The rootcollar borer Euzophera ostricolorella attacks the phloem tissue at the base of the tree and provides entry points for rots and other pathogens. Attacks by the Columbian timber beetle Corthylus columbianus do not kill the tree but may degrade the wood. The defect consists of black-stained burrows and discolored wood called "calico poplar.
Fire scars, logging damage, animal and bird damage, top breakage, dying limbs, and decaying parent stumps all provide entry for decay-causing fungi Probably the most common type of decay associated with basal wounding and decaying stumps is a soft, spongy, white or gray rot caused by the fungus Armillaria mellea. A white heartwood rot caused by Collybia velutipes often is associated with top breakage and dying limbs. Species of the genus Nectria have been associated with stem cankers.
Incidence of this disease and mortality from it was greatest on low-vigor trees. A canker caused by Fusarium solani was isolated from large yellow-poplars in Ohio and was shown to cause characteristic cankers through pathogenicity studies. Some mortality results during periods of drought, but F solani apparently is not a virulent pathogen and causes damage only when the host is weakened by unfavorable environmental factors. Dieback and associated stem canker of yellow-poplar saplings were reported to have resulted in considerable mortality in some stands.
A fungus of the genus Myxosporium was associated with dead bark of infected trees and was shown to cause canker formation after experimental inoculations. Identical dieback symptoms were reported for scattered areas throughout the South. Symptoms included chlorosis of leaves, sparse crown, dieback, trunk and branch cankers, and epicormic sprouting. Several fungal species were consistently isolated from cankered trees, but there was uncertainty about the causative agent.
The severity and extent of infection are greater in upland sites than in bottom-land sites. All canker-forming diseases reported for yellow-poplar appear to be confined to, or most severe on, trees that are low in vigor because of drought, poor site, or competition. A nursery root-rot disease caused by Cylindrocladium scoparium causes root and stem lesions.
It is frequently lethal in nursery beds and causes low survival and poor growth when infected seedlings are outplanted. Extensive root damage and mortality in a year-old yellow-poplar plantation have been reported. Yellow-poplar logs, especially when cut in warmer seasons, are subject to rapid deterioration because of attacks of wood-staining fungi that feed largely on the starch and sugars in the green sapwood and penetrate deeply while the wood is moist.
The most common rapid-staining species is Ceratocystis pluriannulata. Yellow-poplar seedlings and saplings have thin bark and are extremely susceptible to fire damage. Even a light ground fire is usually fatal to small stems up to 2. These stems resprout after fire, but repeated fires may eliminate yellow-poplar from a site. When the bark becomes thick enough to insulate the cambium about 1. Sleet and glaze storms, which occur periodically within the range of yellow-poplar, may cause considerable damage.
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Stump sprouts are particularly susceptible to injury, slender trees may be broken off, and tops of dominant and codominant trees are often broken. Top damage is often the point of entry for fungi.
Although yellow-poplar usually makes remarkable recovery after such storms, repeated damage can result in a growth reduction and loss of quality. The leaves, twigs, and branches of yellow-poplar are tender and palatable to livestock and white-tailed deer, and young trees are often heavily browsed.
Seedlings are grazed to the ground, small saplings are trimmed back, and even large saplings may be ridden down and severely damaged. In areas where animals are concentrated, young yellow-poplar is frequently eliminated. Rabbits also eat the bark and buds of seedlings and saplings and can be quite destructive at times.
When the sap is running in the spring, yellow-poplar is very susceptible to logging damage. If a falling tree strikes a standing poplar, there is often considerable bark loss up and down the bole of the standing tree. Even if the bark appears only lightly bruised, it may subsequently dry up and fall off in long strips. Frost, especially in frost pockets, can affect the early growth and development of yellow-poplar.
Following a late spring frost in a year-old plantation, it was found that leaf mortality varied from 5 to percent of the leaves on the individual trees.
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Leaf mortality was lowest on trees with a high foliar content of potassium. Frost may also cause bole damage in the form of shake, a separation of growth rings resulting in cull. A weather-induced defect called blister shake, related to frost shake, was described in year-old yellow-poplar trees in West Virginia.
Vines can be extremely damaging to yellow-poplar. Japanese honeysuckle Lonicera japonica , kudzu Pueraria lobata , and climbing bittersweet Celastrus scandens have been known to have deleterious effects on yellow-poplar in isolated cases. However, the most widespread damage throughout the Appalachians results from wild grapevines Vitis spp.
Many forest managers and researchers consider grape the most serious threat to production of high-quality yellow-poplar timber in the Appalachian region. Grapevines damage young trees by breaking limbs and tops, twisting and bending the main stem, and intercepting solar radiation. The result is reduced growth, malformation of stem and crown, and sometimes death of the trees. Grapevines also worsen winter storm damage in some areas by furnishing increased surface area for accumulation of ice and snow.
Yellow-poplar is an extremely versatile wood with a multitude of uses. Most important recent uses of the wood have been for lumber for unexposed furniture parts and core stock, rotary-cut veneer for use as crossbands in construction of furniture parts, in plywood for backs and interior parts, and as pulpwood. Considerable attention is being given to its use as structural framing material and for veneers in structural plywood as a substitute for increasingly scarce softwoods.
Yellow-poplar, with its shiny green leaves, distinctive flower, and statuesque appearance, is an excellent ornamental for park and garden where there is adequate space to accommodate its large size. It has distinctive value as a honey tree In one season a tree less than 20 years old reportedly yields 3. It has nominal value as a source of wildlife food in comparison to some other species, but its seeds are eaten by quails, purple finches, rabbits, gray squirrels, and white-footed mice.
Because of its greater volume per acre, which is due to its greater density and height, yellow-poplar on very good sites may produce more dry-weight yield per acre than species such as oak with much denser wood. It may have potential as a producer of wood fiber for energy and other uses. The significant variation in many traits among individual trees, among stands, and between geographic sources of yellow-poplar 15,29,34 is of interest to forest managers and users of wood products.
Varying degrees of genetic control have been demonstrated for wood and tree properties such as specific gravity and fiber length; straightness; branch angle; natural pruning ability; leaf, fruit, and seed characteristics; disease resistance; growth of seedlings; and length of growing season. For other important traits, such as the tendency to produce epicormic sprouts, evidence exists that the trait is strongly inherited although this has not yet been demonstrated conclusively.
A growth chamber study revealed that seedlings of northern and southern origin responded very differently to day-length treatments A day length of 18 hours inhibited the northern source but not the southern. The most consistent difference among geographic seed sources has appeared in dormancy relationships. In general, the more northern sources start growth later and cease earlier than the more southern sources.
Few studies are old enough to permit good comparisons of volume differences for different seed sources, but significant differences in early height growth have been reported. While most geographic differences are associated with latitude of source, there are good indications that environmental differences associated with altitude are also important. In North Carolina, a clinal pattern of variation existed from coast to mountain for a number of seed and leaf characteristics At least one distinct ecotype of yellow-poplar has been confirmed.
First evidence came from a plantation near Charleston, SC, where trees from a Coastal Plain source in eastern North Carolina were twice as tall 3 years after outplanting as those from a mountain source in western North Carolina Later, a source from the Coastal Plain of North Carolina performed poorly in comparison to upland sources when planted at a Piedmont location but was far superior to upland sources when planted on organic soils of the Coastal Plain where pH values seldom exceed 4.
Yellow-poplar of the coastal source has a distinctive leaf pattern and color-rounded lobes and copperish-red leaves.