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A Genetic Improvement Program for Virginia Pine Christmas Trees

In 1981, a cooperative effort was initiated to provide genetically improved Virginia pine seedlings to Christmas tree producers in the state of Texas. A total of 50 parental selections were evaluated in four genetic tests located in east Texas. Concurrent with the establishment of genetic tests was the planting of a ten acre seedling seed orchard. The orchard has been rogued once on the basis of results obtained from genetic tests and first seed production was realized in 1987. As seed production increases additional roguing is anticipated. Second-generation selections have been made using criteria suitable for evaluation of Christmas trees. These selections have been preserved by grafting into a scion bank. A breeding program utilizing the concept of matings within breeding groups has been developed to provide for additional genetic gain in future generations.

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Author(s): Craig R. McKinley

Publication: Tree Improvement and Genetics - Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference - 1989