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U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Forest Service Southern Regional Extension Forestry Southern Regional Extension Forestry

Clonal Selection and Testing of Virginia Pine for Christmas Tree Characteristics

Two and one-half year-old Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana Mill.) trees were selected for superior Christmas tree characteristics from a large Christmas tree grower's plantation. Threeinch-long stem cuttings were collected from the select trees and rooted using Hare's powder and a rooting bench. Rooted cuttings from 47 clones were field planted in spring 1987 near Hattiesburg, Mississippi and subsequently were cultured with standard Christmas tree practices, including shearing. The sole cultural treatment to be tested was the effect of staking versus not staking each clone. Following four seasons of growth and culture, the trees were assessed for total height and overall quality rating. The unstaked ramets of each clone were as straight as the staked ramets. Highly significant clonal variance was apparent for total height with an average of 129.21 cm and a range of clone means of 102.44 to 160.00 cm. The top ten percent of the clones averaged 21.16 cm taller than the population average. Broad-sense heritability for height on a individual basis was .21. Based on a five-point scale, there were highly significant differences among clones in quality rating. The top ten percent had an average rating of 4.57 compared to the overall mean of 3.64. The broad sense heritability for the rating was .31.

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Author(s): G. F. Brown, Jr., G. Sam Foster

Publication: Tree Improvement and Genetics - Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference - 1991

Section: General Session: Genetic Testing and Selection