The Effects of Three Nursery Production Methods on Tree Growth Rates

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523

Ninety trees are being used and have been in the field since 1994. The three species studied include: Fraxinus pennsylvanica Patmore (Green Ash), Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak), and Pinus nigra (Austrian Pine); 30 of each species. Each species has been harvested in three different nursery production methods including balled and burlapped, plastic container, and fabric container. During the 1996 growing season, the following data was recorded for each tree, growth increments, caliper size, and tree heights. For the two deciduous species, both dry weights and leaf area were recorded. Some sap flow measurements were taken using a non-intrusive stem heat balance method, on the same tree species with varying production methods. All three species showed the greatest growth increments and heights for those trees planted in fabric containers. In regards to trunk caliper size, Pinus nigra showed that the balled and burlapped, and fabric containers had larger calipers than those planted in plastic containers. Fabric container trees were larger in caliper than plastic container trees, which was larger than the balled and burlapped on Quercus macrocarpa. The plastic container and balled and burlapped resulted in greater calipers on Fraxinus pennsylvanica than the fabric containers. Quercus macrocarpa also showed that both leaf area and dry weight were greatest for trees planted in fabric containers, followed by the other production methods. Trees in plastic containers exhibited the greatest leaf area and dry weight for Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Overall, the fabric container trees in all three species illustrated the highest-quality trees, followed by those planted in plastic containers, and then balled and burlapped. Minimal data was recorded for transpiration rates in 1996 and will be further investigated in 1997.

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