, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 387-396
Date: 06 Apr 2014

Hybrid poplar (Populus spp.) adaptation to a semi-arid region: results from Northwest New Mexico (2002–2011)

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A provenance test was initiated in spring 2002 at the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center at Farmington to examine the adaptability of various hybrid poplar (Populus spp.) crosses to the high elevation, semi-arid conditions of this region of the Southwestern United States. Ten crosses of P. deltoides, P. maximowiczii, P. nigra and P. trichocarpa obtained from nurseries in the Pacific Northwest were grown in replicates (3 plots × 16 trees) under drip irrigation programmed to match tree evapotranspiration (ET) rates. By the end of year 10, six crosses had maintained a 90 % or higher survival rate and had an average wood volume of 246 m3 ha−1. The P. deltoides × P. nigra (P. × canadensis) clone OP-367 surpassed a ten-year commercial target of 25-cm diameter at breast height (DBH) after eight seasons, and by the end of 2011 attained a DBH of 28.0 cm, height of 19.9 m and wood volume of 473 m3 ha−1. Results suggest that hybrid poplar production is possible in this type of semi-arid environment using appropriate germplasm and drip irrigation regimes scheduled according to tree ET demand.