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  • Author or Editor: Francesco Ferrini x
  • HortScience x
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Quercus populations are noted for their genetic variability. However, this variability is difficult to manage through sexual propagation. The purpose of this study was to characterize the early height growth and water use of seedlings from six sources of Quercus native to Italy and to explore the rooting potential of semihardwood stem cuttings taken from young stock plants. There was great variability within a seed source for seedling height (a 1.5- to 7.8-fold difference depending on source) and water use seedling/day (a 0.7- to 16.5-fold difference). Stem cuttings rooted in high percentages (greater than 74%) for two sources of Q. petraea (Mattusch) Liebl. and Q. pubescens Willd. and one source of Q. cerris L. A second Q. cerris source had 48% rooting. Q. petraea and Q pubescens cuttings were rooted successfully in mid-June and early August with high survival percentages. Overwinter survival of cuttings from all propagation dates was 96% (303 of 314 rooted cuttings). In general, seedling stock plant height and water use were not significantly correlated with percent rooting suggesting that those characteristics could be selected independently resulting in tall or short clones with a range of water use efficiencies. Additional testing is needed to determine the relationship between the traits measured on young seedlings and those traits in older individuals.

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This experiment investigated the effect of different container design on growth and root deformation of littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata Mill.) and field elm (Ulmus minor Mill.). The trial was carried out over two growing seasons (2008 to 2009). In April 2008, 1-year-old bare-root seedlings of the two species were potted in three types of 1-L containers: Superoots® Air-Cell™ (The Caledonian Tree Company, Pathhead, UK), Quadro fondo rete (Bamaplast, Massa e Cozzile, Italy), and smooth-sided containers. At the beginning of the second growing season, the same plants were repotted in the following 3-L containers: Superoots® Air-Pot™ (The Caledonian Tree Company), Quadro antispiralizzante (Bamaplast), and smooth-sided containers. At the end of each growing season, a subset of the plants from each container type was harvested to determine shoot and root dry mass and root deformation (by dry weight of root deformed mass relative to the whole root mass). Chlorophyll fluorescence and leaf chlorophyll content were measured during the second growing season. For both species, at the end of first growing season, the poorest root architecture was observed in the smooth-sided containers, whereas Superoots® Air-Cell™ and Quadro fondo rete both reduced the percentage of deformed root mass. At the end of the second growing season, plants of both species grown in Superoots® Air-Pot™ showed less deformed root mass, whereas Quadro antispiralizzante provided good results only in littleleaf linden. A reduction of field elm root biomass and littleleaf linden shoot biomass was observed at the end of the trial in plants grown in Superoots® Air-Pot®. Plants grown in these containers showed less leaf chlorophyll content compared with plants grown in smooth-sided containers at the end of the second year.

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