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  • Author or Editor: Ray Moody x
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Twenty open-pollinated families from a virginia pine (Pinus virginiana) seed orchard in South Carolina were planted and managed as Christmas trees at three sites. Retail value and related traits were assessed once the tests reached marketable size (4 years in the field). All traits assessed (except survival) proved to 1) be under a moderate degree of genetic control (family mean heritability = 0.68 for retail value) and 2) have a large range among open-pollinated family means ($11.42/tree to $22.00/tree, retail value) suggesting that they will response well to the traditional tree improvement approach of selection, breeding and testing. The retail value of the best five families tested averaged an increase of $3.47/tree or 20.7% more than the average. At a 6 × 6 ft (1.8 m) spacing [1,210 trees/acre (2,990 trees/ha)], these families would produce an increase in revenue of almost $4,200/acre ($10,387/ha). Much of this increase in value is a result of reducing the cull rate from 14.5% to 8.1%. Survival, height, crown density and straightness of these five families also exceeded the average of the 20 families tested.

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