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Comparison of Scotch Pine Christmas Tree Varieties in Virginia

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Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a popular Christmas tree species throughout the country, but it is not widely grown in the southern United States. Many of the physical characteristics that influence Christmas tree quality are genetically influenced and vary with seed source. A study was established in Virginia to investigate Christmas tree marketability and quality from 17 commercial seed sources of Scotch pine. Nine test plantations, three each in the western mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain, were established in 1987 and cultured for eight growing seasons. The study was terminated in the winter of 1995. Many differences were found in measured variables between seed sources and regions of the state, however, there were no significant source x region interactions. Four sources emerged as the top performers based on a tree value index: Lower Austria, Musser Special Strain, Belgium Campine, and Pennspanish. Two of these, the Musser and Pennspanish, are improved sources that have been selected for desirable Christmas tree traits. Although Scotch pine trees had greater heights and marketability factors in the western mountains of Virginia, the trees that became marketable in 8 years in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain had a mean USDA Tree Grade significantly lower than in the mountains. The Coastal Plain trees suffered reduced marketability due to Nantucket pine tip moth damage. Effective control of this pest would greatly improve the marketability of Scotch pine trees in the Coastal Plain. South. J. Appl. For. 21(2):57-63.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry, College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources, Virginia Tech, 228 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0324

Publication date: 1997-05-01

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