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    Author(s): Barbara L. Gartner; Eric M. North; G.R. Johnson; Ryan Singleton
    Date: 2002
    Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32: 439-447
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (139 KB)


    It would be valuable economically to know what are the biological triggers for formation of mature wood (currently of high value) and (or) what maintains production of juvenile wood (currently of low value), to develop silvicultural regimes that control the relative production of the two types of wood. Foresters commonly assume the bole of softwoods produces juvenile wood within the crown and mature wood below. We tested that assumption by comparing growth ring areas and widths and wood density components of the outer three growth rings in disks sampled from different vertical positions of 34-year-old Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) trees. The 18 trees were sampled from one site and had a wide range of heights to live crown. Most of the variance (63–93%) in wood characteristics (growth ring area: total, earlywood, latewood; growth ring width: total, earlywood, latewood; latewood proportion: by area, width; and ring density: total, earlywood, latewood) was due to within-tree differences (related to age of the disk). Stepwise regression analysis gave us equations to estimate wood characteristics, after which we analyzed the residuals with a linear model that included whether a disk was within or below the crown (defined as the lowest node on the stem with less than three live branches). After adjusting for tree and disk position, only 2–10% of the residual variation was associated with whether the disk was in or out of the live crown. There were no statistically significant differences at p = 0.05 between a given disk (by node number) in versus out of the crown for any of the factors studied. Moreover, the wood density characteristics were not statistically significant at p = 0.30. This research suggests that there was no effect of the crown position on the transition from juvenile to mature wood as judged by wood density. Therefore, we found no evidence to support the concept that tree spacing and live-branch pruning have a significant effect on the cambial age of transition from juvenile to mature wood in Douglas-fir trees of this age.

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    Gartner, Barbara L.; North, Eric M.; Johnson, G.R.; Singleton, Ryan. 2002. Effects of live crown on vertical patterns of wood density and growth in Douglas-fir. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32: 439-447

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