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Frequency Distribution and Heritability of First-Order Lateral Roots in Loblolly Pine Seedlings

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Frequency distributions and heritability of first-order lateral roots (FOLR) were computed for seedling progeny of loblolly pine mother trees in different years in a nursery. Seeds were from 12 mother trees the first year and from 25 different mother trees the second year. The theoretical frequency distribution of FOLR in these loblolly pine seedlings was best appropriated by a truncated normal distribution for untransformed FOLR >0. Family mean heritability estimates (h²) for the 12 and 25 half-sib seedlots were (0.769 ± 0.17 and 0.766 ± 0.11) and combined data produced an h² of 0.767 ± 0.09. Seedlings were also stratified into four FOLR categories: 0-3, 4-5, 6-7, and ≥8. The aboveground dimensions of seedlings in the 0-3 category were consistently and significantly smaller than in the other three grades for all families. Seedlings in this category represented 39% of all seedlings tested over 2 years. In four families 57% of the progeny were in this lowest FOLR category, while in four other families only 25% of the seedlings were in this category. All measured seedling parameters increased significantly from the smallest to the largest FOLR category. These data suggest that mother trees could be selected for FOLR development by some standard nursery procedure. For. Sci. 36(3):802-814.

Keywords: Pinus taeda; nursery practices; seedling grading; seedling quality

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of North Alabama, Florence, AL 35632

Publication date: September 1, 1990

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