The natural establishment of woody seedlings on abandoned agricultural fields was investigated at sites in Louisiana and Mississippi. Series of disked and undisked plots originating at forest edges and oriented in cardinal directions were established on fields at each site. During the firest 2 years, seedling recruitment was dominated by sweetgum, sugarberry, and elms at both sites. Seedling establishment was strongly affected by direction from mature forest and disking, and to a slightly lesser degree by distance from mature forest. Slightly under half of the variation in seedling numbers per plot was explained by the effects of direction, distance, and disking, indicating that other factors also may play an important role in seedling recruitment.