Evaluating the efficacy of high-stumping as a mechanical treatment to control ironwood (Ostrya virginiana)


  • Greg Edge Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry


Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) is becoming increasingly common in the midstory and understory of northern hardwood forests in Wisconsin, particularly in degraded stands and areas subject to significant deer browse. The shade and competition caused by dense layers of ironwood saplings interfere with regeneration of other valuable northern hardwood species. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is testing a non-chemical method of ironwood control in northern and southern Wisconsin. High-stumping is a non-chemical control method for ironwood where stems are cut above a standard stump height to increase stress on the plant and reduce vigorous stump resprouting. This study cut  ironwood during the growing season at several stump heights (30cm, 60cm and 91cm) and varied diameters to monitor sprouting and longevity of treated trees. Ironwood stumps have so far been monitored for three years after treatment. Preliminary results indicate that overall mortality was low (Median = 15.5%; Range = 1% - 36%) in the first year after treatment. However, overall mortality increased significantly in the second year post-treatment (Median = 23.5%, Range = 3% - 40%) and again in the third year of post-treatment monitoring (Median = 78.5%; Range = 22% - 95%). High-stumping may be a promising, viable non-chemical means of ironwood control in the understory of northern hardwood stands; offering an option on lands where chemical control methods are not preferred or allowed. 

Author Biography

Greg Edge, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry

Greg is a Forest Ecologist/Silviculturist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, working on statewide silviculture and forest management issues. He has worked for the Wisconsin DNR for over 30 years in a variety of roles, including as a Forester, Forest Geneticist and Nursery Specialist, and Area Forestry Leader. Greg graduated from University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in 1988 with a B.S. in forestry administration and received an M.S. in forest genetics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1991. Greg has also completed the National Advanced Silviculture Program (NASP) and is a Certified Silviculturist through the U.S. Forest Service. As the co-host of the podcast, SilviCast, Greg enjoys discussing all things silviculture! Greg and his wife Michelle live in La Crosse, Wisconsin.