HORTICULTURAL PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES APPLIED TO SOFTWOOD CUTTINGS OF JUVENILE LOBLOLLY PINE (PINUS TAEDA L.), A SOUTHERN FOREST SPECIES

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  • 1 Westvaco Corporation, Box 1950, Summerville, SC 29484

Clonal propagation of recalcitrant conifers like loblolly pine depends on producing juvenile cuttings on hedges sheared several times annually. Although dormant cuttings root well, it will be economically important to also root softwood shoots produced between shearings. Several variables were therefore evaluated in a factorial experiment to enhance rooting and handling of summer cuttings. Rooting percentages were equivalent for 3 media after a 5-week hardening period (56% overall), but open flats of 1 perlite:1 vermiculite induced larger root systems at the end of rooting and hardening phases. Extending the rooting period from 10 to 14 weeks increased rooting from about 45% to 58% by the end of hardening. Primary root length per cutting increased 12-63% during hardening, depending on medium. After transplanting, overwintering survival was 98%. Foam rooting wedges produced smallest root systems, and resulting plants were consistently shortest through the following growing season. Weekly applications of soluble fertilizer during the last 6 weeks of rooting did not improve rooting or subsequent growth

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