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Early Growth Patterns of Red Alder and Black Cottonwood in Mixed Species Plantations

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Growth patterns of black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa Torr.& Gray) cuttings and red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) wildlings were studied during the first year after planting on low elevation glacial till soils in western Washington, U.S.A. Black cottonwood height growth occurred earlier, with 88 percent of its height having been achieved by late July (Julian day 210). Red alder growth continued longer, with 55 percent of its height growth achieved after late July (Julian day 210). Black cottonwood of this genetic origin appeared to have a more preformed growth pattern than red alder. Leaf area ratios were consistently higher throughout the season for black cottonwood than for red alder--a maximum of 42 cm²/g for black cottonwood and 29 cm²/g for red alder. Growth parameters in both species were adversely affected by periods of no precipitation and soil drought. Biomass production for the first year was low--0.04 metric tons/ha for black cottonwood and 0.74 metric tons/ha for red alder--compared to other studies in the region where black cottonwood and red alder were planted to closer spacings. The general ability of black cottonwood to achieve its growth earlier in the season coupled with greater leaf area ratio may explain its different behavior from red alder in mixed stands. Forest Sci. 31:190-200.

Keywords: Alnus rubra; Populus trichocarpa

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195

Publication date: 1985-03-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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