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Genetic Variation in Young Fraser Fir Progeny Tests

Although Fraser fir Christmas tree production is an important industry in the state of North Carolina, there has not been a great deal of previous research on breeding and selection to increase the quality of production. Only one previous progeny test series has been completed with Fraser fir, and it had a limited sampling of seed sources tested at only three sites. A more thorough testing of families from throughout the natural range of Fraser fir was needed. In 1994, a more extensive seed collection was performed, where seeds from over 500 parent trees were collected from the six main populations of Fraser fir (McKeand et al. 1995). Seedlings were grown from the seed collected in 1994 to establish this progeny test series at eight sites in 2000. The objectives of this study were to determine genetic variation among six seed sources of Fraser fir and to estimate genetic parameters for traits important in Christmas tree production. In addition, genetic variation of spring frost damage to the terminal leader and lateral branches in May of 2002, the third year in the field, and how it related to bud flush dates in the nursery as well as parent elevation were studied.

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Author(s): J. L. Emerson, John L. Frampton, Steven E. McKeand

Publication: Tree Improvement and Genetics - Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference - 2005