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Growing Density and Container Volume Affect Nursery and Field Growth of Interior Spruce Seedlings

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Interior spruce (white or Englemann spruce) was grown in containers having volumes of 45 to 120 cm³ and at nursery densities of 64 to 1111 seedlings/m². In three experiments, seedlings grown at greater densities had decreased shoot and root weights, decreased stem diameters, and in some cases greater shoot heights. Seedlings grown in containers with greater volumes were larger. Interaction between container volume and growing density was such that the effect of container volume was only evident at growing densities less than 568 seedlings/m². Maximum crop biomass for interior spruce was found to be 3 kg/m². Crop uniformity decreased as maximum crop biomass was approached. The greatest number of uniformly larger (5 to 6 g) seedlings are produced at growing densities of 500 to 600 seedlings/m². Growth of outplanted seedlings suggested larger seedlings had greater field growth, but the mean relative growth rates (RGR) of different sized seedlings were not affected by nursery growing densities. The results reported support the view that larger planting stock has apparently greater growth not because of greater growth rates, but because of larger initial size and the compounding effect of growth. North. J. Appl. For. 8(4):160-165.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: BC Ministry of Forests, Kalamalka Research Station, Vernon, B.C., Canada V1B 2C7

Publication date: 01 December 1991

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