European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 127, Issue 6, pp 481–493 | Cite as

Effect of wide spacing on tree growth, branch and sapwood properties of young Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] in south-western Germany

  • Sebastian Hein
  • Aaron R. Weiskittel
  • Ulrich Kohnle
Original Paper


The influence of stand density on Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] is conceptually understood, but for wide spacings not well quantified, particularly in Europe. This study used 41 trees from 7 different locations in south-western Germany to compare important tree- and branch-level attributes across three different densities, namely 100, 200, and 1,200 stems ha−1. In general, there were only a few tree and branch attributes that were significantly different between the 100 and 200 ha−1 densities. Crown projection area and diameter of the thickest branches were the most important differences between the 100 and 200 ha−1 densities. The most obvious and significant differences in this study were between 100 and 1,200 ha−1 densities, where nearly every examined tree and branch attributes were statistically significant. However, relative sapwood area, the number of branches, branch angle, and the occurrence of spike knots were insensitive to stand density. Although the two lowest stand densities in this study represent rather extremely wide spacings, these results still have important implications for the development of effective thinning regimes for Douglas-fir in south-western Germany. Important management recommendations from this study include thinned stands should be maintained to at least 200 stems ha−1 to maintain high log quality and stand stability. Furthermore, even at stand densities exceeding more than 1,200 trees ha−1 planted trees, artificial pruning may even be necessary to produce high quality logs.


Spacing Branchiness Sapwood Douglas-fir Timber quality Open grown trees 



We thank Christian David Sagemüller, Dietmar Winterhalter and Klaus Freyler for the field work. We are also grateful to Olaf Drost for measuring annual radial increments. Thanks also to the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg together with the Ministry of Rural Space, Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry for funding Aaron Weiskittel’s travel to Germany.


  1. Abetz P (1987) The “Solitary program 1987”. A contribution to a forestry related risk control. Allg Forst-u Jagdztg 45:1172. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  2. Abetz P, Lässig P (1989) Great echo to the “Solitary program 1987”. Allg Forst-u Jagdztg 27:714–716. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  3. Anonymous (1998a) Qualitative classification of softwood round timber—Part 1: Spruces and firs. European Committee for Standardization. prENV 1927–1. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  4. Anonymous (1998b) European norm for sawn timber, EN 1912: European Committee for Standardization. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  5. Anonymous (1998c) European norm for sawn timber, EN 388: European Committee for Standardization. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  6. Anonymous (2003) Timber assortment according to carrying capacity, softwood timber. Beuth, Berlin. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  7. Bamber RK, Fukazawa F (1985) Sapwood and heartwood: a review. For Abstr 46:567–580Google Scholar
  8. Bösch B (2001) New tools for site indexing and growth in Baden-Württemberg. Wissenstransfer in Praxis und Gesellschaft—FVA Forschungstage 05–06 July 2001. Schriftenr Freiburger Forstliche Forsch 18:266–276. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  9. Brix H, Mitchell AK (1983) Thinning and nitrogen fertilization effects on sapwood development and relationships of foliage quantity to sapwood area and basal area in Douglas-fir. Can J Res 13:384–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carter RE, Miller IM, Klinka K (1986) Relationships between growth form and stand density in immature Douglas-fir. For Chron 62:440–445Google Scholar
  11. Curtis RO, Reukema DL (1970) Crown development and site estimates in a Douglas-fir plantation spacing test. For Sci 16:287–301Google Scholar
  12. Ehring A, Kohnle U (2006) State of the coordinated Douglas-fir growing space experiment in Baden-Württemberg. Deutscher Verband Forstlicher Forschungsanstalten—Sektion Ertragskunde—Jahrestagung 29–31 May 2006, Staufen, 151–159. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  13. Espinosa Bancalari MA, Perry DA, Marshall JD (1987) Leaf area—sapwood area relationships in adjacent young Douglas-fir stands with different early growth rates. Can J Res 17:174–180. doi: 10.1139/x87-030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Flewelling JW, Collier R, Gonyea B, Marshall D, Turnblom E (2001) Height-age curves for planted stands of Douglas-fir, with adjustments for density. In: Stand Management Cooperative Working Paper 1. University of Washington, College of Forest Resources, Seattle, WAGoogle Scholar
  15. FVA-BW (2004) Forest in Baden-Württemberg in 2002 and development since 1987 - The most important results from the Second National Inventory in Germany - Forest area and tree species composition. Accessed 1 February 2008 (in German)
  16. Gersonde RF, O’Hara KL (2005) Comparative tree growth efficiency in Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests. For Ecol Manage 219:95–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grier CC, Waring RH (1974) Conifer foliage mass related to sapwood area. For Sci 20:205–206Google Scholar
  18. Hein S, Mäkinen H, Yue C, Kohnle U (2007) Modelling branch characteristics of Norway spruce from wide spacings in Germany. For Ecol Manage 242:155–164. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2007.01.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hein S, Weiskittel AR, Kohnle U (2008) Branch characteristics of widely-spaced Douglas-fir in south-western Germany: comparison of modelling approaches and geographic regions. For Ecol Manage 256:1064–1079. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.06.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Herbstritt S, Kohnle U (2006) The solitary program 1987—review, recent state, first results. AFZ-Der Wald 61:1080–1083. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  21. Kenk G, Thren M (1984a) Results of different Douglas-fir provenance tests in Baden -Württemberg. Part I: The international Douglas-fir provenance test 1958. Allg Forst-u Jagdztg 155:165–184. In German with English summaryGoogle Scholar
  22. Kenk G, Thren M (1984b) Results of different Douglas-fir provenance tests in Baden -Württemberg. Part II: The Douglas-fir provenance tests of Kirchzarten, Aalen/Schwarzach, Steinheim and Heidelberg/Ettenheim/Kandern. Allg Forst-u Jagdztg 155:221–240. In German with English summaryGoogle Scholar
  23. Kenk G, Unfried P (1980) Branch diameter in Douglas-fir stands. Allg Forst-u Jagdztg 151:201–210. In German with English summaryGoogle Scholar
  24. Maguire DA, Hann DW (1989) The relationship between gross crown dimensions and sapwood area at crown base in Douglas-fir. Can J Res 19:557–565. doi: 10.1139/x89-088 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maguire DA, Kershaw JA, Hann DW (1991) Predicting the effect of silvicultural regime on branch size and crown wood core in Douglas-fir. For Sci 37:1409–1428Google Scholar
  26. Maguire DA, Moeur M, Bennett WS (1994) Models for describing basal diameter and vertical distribution of primary branches in young Douglas-fir. For Ecol Manage 63:23–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mäkinen H, Hein S (2006) Effect of wide spacing on increment and branch properties of young Norway spruce. Eur J For Res 125:239–248. doi: 10.1007/s10342-006-0115-9 Google Scholar
  28. MLR-BW (1997) Tending guidelines. Ministerium Ländlicher Raum Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  29. MLR-BW (1999) Guidelines on state-wide forest development types. Ministerium Ländlicher Raum Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  30. Moosmayer H-U (2002) Long-term regional silvicultural planning in Baden-Württemberg—basic principles and results. Schriftenreihe der Landesforstverwaltung Baden-Württemberg, Band 81. Selbstverlag der Landesforstverwaltung Baden-Württemberg, p 134. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  31. O’Hara KL (1988) Stand structure and growing space efficiency following thinning in an even-aged Douglas-fir stand. Can J Res 18:859–866. doi: 10.1139/x88-132 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. O’Hara KL (1989) Stand growth efficiency in a Douglas-fir thinning trial. For 62:409–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. ONF-FR (1996) Silviculture of Douglas-fir. Bulletin Technique, Office national des Forêts, Franche, pp 35–42. In FrenchGoogle Scholar
  34. Pretzsch H, Schütze G (2005) Crown allometry and growing space efficiency of Norway Spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst) and European Beech (Fagus sylvatica [L.]) in pure and mixed stands. Plant Biol 7:628–640. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-865965 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Reukema DL (1979) Fifty-year development of Douglas-fir stands planted at various spacings. In: Research Paper PNW–253. USDA Forest Service, Portland, ORGoogle Scholar
  36. Röhle H, Huber W (1985) Investigations on the methods to measure crown radii and on the calculation of crown projection areas. Forstarchiv 56:238–243. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  37. Schmidt M (2001) Simulations on branchiness and quality for roundwood of Douglas-fr. Allg Forst-u Jagdztg 175:49–60Google Scholar
  38. Scott W, Meade R, Leon R, Hyink D, Miller R (1998) Planting density and tree-size relations in coast Douglas-fir. Can J Res 28:74–78. doi: 10.1139/cjfr-28-1-74 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. St Clair JB (1994) Genetic variation in tree structure and its relation to size in Douglas-fir. II. Crown form, branch characters, and foliage characters. Can J Res 24:1236–1247. doi: 10.1139/x94-162 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Teuffel KV, Heinrich B, Baumgarten M (2004) Present distribution of secondary Norway spruce in Europe. In: Spiecker H, Hansen J, Klimo E, Skovsgaard JP, Sterba H, Teuffel KV (eds) Norway spruce conversion—options and consequences. European Forest Institute Research Report, 18, Brill, Leiden, pp 63–96Google Scholar
  41. Wagenführ R (2007) Wood atlas. München: Fachbuchverl. Leipzig im Carl Hanser Verl, 6th edn. 816. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  42. Waring RH, Schroeder PE, Oren R (1982) Application of the pipe model theory to predict canopy leaf area. Can J Res 12:556–560. doi: 10.1139/x82-086 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Weise U, Flöß M, Kenk G (2001) Treatment and value of Douglas-fir in Baden-Württemberg. AFZ/Der Wald 15:803–806. In GermanGoogle Scholar
  44. Weiskittel AR, Maguire DA, Monserud RA (2007) Modeling crown structural responses to competing vegetation control, thinning, fertilization, and Swiss needle cast in coastal Douglas-fir of the Pacific Northwest, USA. For Ecol Manage 245:96–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wilson JS, Oliver CD (2000) Stability and density management in Douglas-fir plantations. Can J Res 30:910–920. doi: 10.1139/cjfr-30-6-910 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Hein
    • 1
  • Aaron R. Weiskittel
    • 2
  • Ulrich Kohnle
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Applied Forest SciencesRottenburgGermany
  2. 2.School of Forest Resources, 5755 Nutting HallUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  3. 3.Forest Research Institute of Baden-WürttembergFreiburgGermany

Personalised recommendations