An assessment of potential of hybrid poplar for planting in the Virginia Piedmont
Poplar species grow well across the temperate zone, but hybrid varieties have not previously been evaluated for planting in the Virginia Piedmont region. The top 12 clones in height growth and rust resistance from a screening trial involving 98 hybrid poplar varieties of three taxa (Populus deltoides × P. maximowiczii, DxM; P. deltoides × P. nigra, DxN; P. deltoides × P. trichocarpa, DxT) were selected for planting in replicated yield trials at two locations in the Virginia Piedmont. Results through the first four growing seasons showed that the DxM taxon had the most rapid height development. It was, however, the taxon most affected by a late spring frost at the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest site and by Septoria stem canker at the Reynolds Homestead site. Analysis of variance of clonal and location effects showed highly significant differences among replicates within location and among clones within taxon. Among seven clones within the DxM taxon, pairwise comparison tests of height growth identified two groups: a group of four better clones that were significantly different (p = 0.05) from a second group of three. These early results suggest that multi-selection criteria, including growth, disease and frost resistance, are important when developing hybrid poplar clones for planting in the Piedmont region.
KeywordsPopulus Growth Yield Genetic effects Frost tolerance Disease resistance
This work was funded by the Virginia Agricultural Council, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, the USDA McIntire-Stennis Program, and the Forest Modeling Research Cooperative at Virginia Tech. We thank the Virginia Department of Forestry for the AB field trial site and Kyle Peer and Wayne Bowman for managing the field sites.
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