Wood Density and Fiber Length in Young <i>Populus</i> Stems: Relation to Clone, Age, Growth Rate, and Pruning


  • Dean S. DeBell
  • Ryan Singleton
  • Constance A. Harrington
  • Barbara L. Gartner


<i>Populus</i>, wood density, fiber length, ring width, clones, sampling height, pruning


Cross-sectional disks were cut at two stem heights (1.5 m and 3.0 m) from 9-year-old trees of three Populus clones grown in an intensively-cultured plantation in western Washington. At age 1.5 years, when the trees averaged 3.4 m tall, half of the trees were pruned by removing all branches below 1.8 m. Ring width, wood density, and fiber length were measured for each ring. Pruning had no effect on mean ring width or wood properties, averaged over the entire disk or on rings produced during the 2nd through the 4th years. Averaged over all trees, wood density of the 1.5-m sample was 0.37 g cm-3 during the first 3 years, decreased somewhat at age 4 or 5, and then increased to an average of 0.45 g cm-3 at age 9. Fiber length increased from 0.57 mm at age 1 to nearly 1.0 mm at age 9. Averaged over all disks at 1.5 m, clones differed significantly in ring width, wood density, and fiber length. Mean values for the two wood properties at 3.0 m were slightly lower than those at 1.5 m and did not differ significantly among clones. Within clone correlations between ring width and wood density or fiber length or between wood properties were low, and generally nonsignificant or inconsistent.


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