Growing environment and container type influence field performance of black spruce container stock

Abstract

Black spruce (Picea mariana [Mill.] B.S.P.) overwintered container crops produced in four container types spanning a range of container sizes and seedling rearing densities were compared for two consecutive years. In 1989 two growing environments (greenhouse and outdoors) were compared. In 1990 three growing environments (greenhouse, coldframe, and outdoors) and two hardening regimes (short day and natural) were compared. Seedlings were outplanted during the spring of 1989 and 1990 and total height and survival were assessed for five years.

The outdoor-grown crop was shorter, smaller in root collar diameter and had less dry weight at time of planting than the crops produced in the greenhouse (1989 study) and in the greenhouse and coldframe (1990 study). Although the greenhouse crops in both studies were larger at time of planting, the outdoor-grown crops (1989 and 1990) and coldframe-grown crop (1990) displayed significantly greater annual height increment in the first two years after planting. The enhanced early height growth of the outdoor-grown crops may be due to the natural acclimation created by their growing environment.

Seedlings grown in a large volume container, at a low plant density (441 plants/m2), had significantly larger root collar diameters and total dry weights at time of planting than seedlings grown in a smaller volume container at a high plant density. Stem volume production in the field was greater on seedlings from larger volume containers grown at low densities.

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Peterson, J. Growing environment and container type influence field performance of black spruce container stock. New Forests 13, 329–339 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006598611412

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  • acclimation
  • container type
  • growing density
  • seedling morphology
  • stem volume