Differences in branch characteristics of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) genetic entries grown at different spacing
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• We studied the differences in branch characteristics along the stems of six different genetic entries of 20 year old Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris L.) grown at different spacing (current stand density range 2000–4000 trees ha−1) in central Finland. Furthermore, we studied the phenotypic correlations between yield, wood density traits and branch characteristics. All the genetic entries had Kanerva pine (plus tree S1101) as a father tree, whereas the mother tree represented Finnish plus trees from southern, central and northern Finland.
• Spacing affected all yield traits, wood density and living branch characteristics such as relative average branch diameter and relative cumulative branch area (p < 0.05). As a comparison, genetic entry affected height, while origin group (southern, central and northern ones) affected most of the studied traits. Regardless of spacing, the northern origin had, on average, the largest stem diameter and highest wood density, while the central one was the tallest one. Furthermore, average branch diameter along the stem was affected by branch age, origin group and spacing, while average branch angle was affected by branch age and genetic entry (p < 0.05).
• In general the average branch size could be decreased especially in lower tree canopy by denser spacing during the early phase of the rotation, but only at the expense of tree growth. Correspondingly differences between origins are mainly related to their differences in stem growth.
Keywordsspacing yield traits branch diameter branch angle cumulative branch area
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