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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Blue oak seedling age influences growth and mortality


In some California locations, the natural regeneration of blue oak is limited by the ability of small seedlings to survive long enough to become larger saplings. This study evaluated the growth and survival of different age classes of seedlings. We found that over a 7-year period, older blue oak seedlings had a much higher survival rate than younger seedlings. Under this study’s conditions, however, the height of younger seedlings increased while that of older seedlings decreased. These results suggest that once a seedling survives approximately a decade and becomes established, it is much more likely to remain alive compared to newly germinated seedlings. Nonetheless, its height growth rate may be extremely slow.

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