Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Committee Member

G. Geoff Wang

Committee Member

Lauren S Pile

Committee Member

David R Coyle

Committee Member

William C Bridges


Chinese tallow [Triadica sebifer (L.) Small] is a highly invasive small-medium sized tree found across the southeastern United States. A long-term trial of three different control methods for Chinese tallow: (1) fall application of herbicide, (2) mastication, and (3) growing season prescribed fire, was conducted on Parris Island, South Carolina from 2012 through 2019. The goals of this trial were to reduce Chinese tallow density, reduce overall midstory density, recruit more oak seedlings (Quercus spp.), and increase native species diversity in the understory. All treatments successfully reduced Chinese tallow abundance. These results demonstrate how successful a fall application of herbicide can be at controlling Chinese tallow. Mastication and prescribed fire reduced native shrub density. No treatments were able to recruit oaks or increase native species richness.

Growing season prescribed fire can be used to control deciduous woody plants. To determine if it could be used to control Chinese tallow, a growing season prescribed fire was conducted on ten stands at Nemours Plantation in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Five stands were upland pine plantation, and five were lowland hardwood. Two of the lowland hardwood stands failed to ignite when the fire was applied and were eliminated from the study. In upland pine stands prescribed fire top-killed all the Chinese tallow, and in lowland hardwood stands it top-killed half of the Chinese tallow. However, the morality of Chinese tallow was limited. The success of prescribed fire as a control for Chinese tallow is dependent on the area burned around Chinese tallow stems. If there was a high area burned directly surrounding a Chinese tallow stem, then that individual would be top-killed. Growing season prescribed fire did not impact native understory coverage and was able to increase the coverage of little bluestem and partridge pea. This study demonstrates that a growing season prescribed fire can act as a method of controlling Chinese tallow grow, while minimally impacting native species.



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