Absolute and relative growth of Douglas-fir seedlings of different sizes.

  • Van Den Driessche R
  • Driessche R
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Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedlings of a single seed source were grown in a bare-root nursery for two years to produce five different stock types by varying spacing and transplanting treatments. They were then planted in the forest together with one-year-old container seedlings of the same seed source, which constituted a sixth treatment. Stem volume mean relative growth rate (R(v)) was low immediately after planting for all stock types except the container seedlings, and increased over the following 7.6 years. An 8-week greenhouse test of the six stock types showed that dry weight mean relative growth rate (R(w)) generally decreased with seedling dry weight, but this effect was less obvious after planting, because only the three smaller stock types showed a decrease in R(w) with size. In another experiment, bare-root Douglas-fir seedlings were grown at five different spacings in a nursery for two years, and seedlings from each spacing treatment were sorted into large or small by height. The resulting 10 treatments were planted in the forest and stem volumes determined over 6.7 years. The linear effect of nursery spacing on stem volume was no longer evident 3.6 years after planting, but large seedlings had greater stem volume than the small seedlings throughout the 6.7 years of the study. There was no indication that R(v) declined with time, but small seedlings had higher R(v) than large seedlings. Relative growth rates of two-year-old Douglas-fir were depressed for a year or two after planting, but then remained relatively constant, or increased during the ensuing 5 years. Relative growth rates of smaller seedlings were greater than those of larger seedlings so that relative biomass differences decreased with time, and the time advantage (the time necessary for small seedlings to reach the present biomass of large stock) of larger stock decreased. Absolute size differences increased with time.

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  • R Van Den Driessche

  • R V A N D E N Driessche

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