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Approaches to European Alder Improvement

European alder ( Alnus glutinosa L. Gaertn.) is an increasingly important species in the Eastern United States for use in soil reclamation, biomass plantations, and as a nitrogenfixing nurse crop. Information from provenance and progeny tests is beginning to identify sources of superior genetic quality. The next stage in alder improvement will be developing efficient means of putting the superior selections into widescale use. Alder is somewhat unusual among tree species because all three standard tree improvement techniques: 1) seedling seed orchards, 2) clonal seed orchards, and 3) vegetative propagation are potentially useful approaches. Available data on flowering, seed production, grafting, and rooting are summarized, and additional data needs are identified as a means of assessing the relative value of the three approaches. Seedling seed orchards seem to be the best approach at present. Whichever approach is used, the expected returns are high because of alder's early reproductive potential and the short rotations required to benefit from improved alder yields.

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Author(s): Terry L. Robison, Richard B. Hall

Publication: Tree Improvement and Genetics - North Central Tree Improvement Conference - 1981