Effects of Early Pruning on Ring Specific Gravity in Young Loblolly Pine Trees
Keywords:Pruning, wood density, juvenile wood, mature wood, Pinus taeda
Juvenile wood is not well suited for use in many forest products. Understanding factors that affect the formation of juvenile and mature wood is important when managing commercially important conifer species. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the contribution of ring age, relative height in the stem, and crown position (within or not within the green crown) on ring specific gravity of loblolly pine trees pruned at young ages. A designed experiment consisting of five treatments, control; prune at age 3 yr, age 6 yr, or age 9 yr; and at ages 3,6, and 9 yr, was established at two locations in the Piedmont region of Virginia. Wood samples were acquired at three heights along the stem 15 yr after planting. Results showed that differences in ring specific gravity of the treated plots (Half of green crown removed at each scheduled pruning) were significantly higher than that of the control plots. All variables of ring age, relative height and ring position of within or not within the green crown, were statistically significant. The results suggest that cambial age, maturation, and proximity to green crown are important for controlling whole-ring specific gravity in loblolly pine trees.
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