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Daniel Struve, Francesco Ferrini, Chandra Bellasio and Alessio Fini

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.