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Patterns of Leader Elongation in Loblolly Pine Families

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The distribution of the sixth year's leader length among cycles was studied on six loblolly pine families planted on two different sites with different soil moisture regimes. The average numbers of stem units and their average length on each cycle were also measured. Different patterns were exhibited between sites and among the six families, particularly in the numbers of stem units on the first and second cycles, and in the production of fourth and fifth cycles. There were marked consistencies in the patterns of elongation for each family at the two sites. Regression equations based on the average number of stem units on the second cycle and the average number of cycles precisely predicted relative height performance of the same families after 8 years in other field tests. The strong correlation between variables that describe family leader elongation patterns and height performance over many sites suggests that understanding shoot morphology may improve juvenile genetic selection for mature performance. Forest Sci. 31:933-944.

Keywords: Annual leader growth patterns; Pinus taeda; cycle length; early genetic evaluation; stem units

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Soil Scientist, Weyerhaeuser Company, New Bern, NC

Publication date: December 1, 1985

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