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Comparison of growth and stem form characters of Pinus sylvestris clones and seedlings of the same origin in a 10-year field trial

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A field trial of cuttings and seedlings of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) was measured after 1, 2, 9 and 10 years. Growth-related and stem form characteristics of rooted cuttings were compared with those of seedlings of the same origin. The cuttings were shorter than the seedlings throughout the experiment, but the difference became smaller with age. The ranking of cuttings and seedlings by average height was already the same after one growing season regardless of the differences in planting heights of the cuttings, indicating that the genetic origin affected the height more than the initial planting height. The growth patterns of the cuttings were similar to those of the seedlings. The bole straightness and stem taper after 10 years in the field were similar in both plant types, but not stable, indicating that the use of cuttings for stem quality selection at an early age has no advantages over the use of seedlings. In conclusion, the consistent performance of cuttings compared with seedlings of the same origin indicates that performance of cuttings is a valid measure of their genetic potential and that cuttings can be used to speed up selection in breeding programmes with Scots pine.
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Keywords: Field performance of clones; Pinus sylvestris; height growth; rooted cuttings; stem form

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Applied Biology, University of Helsinki, Finland,Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, Vantaa, Finland 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, Vantaa, Finland

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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