Loblolly pine genetics verification test for private nonindustrial landownersThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Forest industry has invested in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) genetics to improve growth, branching, and form. Until recently, superior families were destined for industry lands with little of this superior genetic material available for other landowners.Seedlings of superior families are now available to non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners at a greater cost than seedlings from first generation selections. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture conducts variety and verification trials for agronomic crops and serves as a source of unbiased information on crop genetics. This study applies the same philosophy to loblolly pine genetics by testing growth, survival, form, and branching in southwest Arkansas. The families included Weyerhaeuser first and second-generation select families, four select families and two MCP families from ArborGen, and unrogued and rogued first generation seed orchard mixes from the Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC). These plantings were established in January 2009 in southwest Arkansas on a fine sandy loam soils. Ten families were planted in 100-tree plots divided among four blocks. Weeds were controlled the first 2 years after planting. Tree height measurements and survival counts have been made annually. Survival after three growing seasons was lowest (61percent) in the AFC unrogued mix and highest (91percent) in an MCP family, averaging 84 percent. This is impressive considering 2011 was a record drought year. Height after three growing seasons was least (2.8 feet) in the Weyerhaeuser first generation family and greatest (4.2 feet) in the Arbor-Gen AG-34 family, averaging 3.4 feet. Branching and form cannot be evaluated until after crown closure.