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L. Eric Hinesley and Scott A. Derby

Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] Christmas trees were sheared once annually over a 4-year period using fixed schedules ranging from July to March. Shearng in July reduced potential growth of the upper crown by 38%; when done in October or March, the reduction was about 50%. Length, dry weight, and one-sided area of individual needles were smallest on nonsheared trees, and increased to maximum values on trees sheared in March. In the upper crown (top three internodes), trees sheared in July were 16% to 33% heavier than those sheared in August or later. Dry matter in the upper crown was 30% foliage and 70% woody material. Sixty-one percent of the biomass in the upper crown was branches for trees sheared in July, compared to 55% for October. In the upper crown, foliage comprised about 50% of the branch dry weight (all treatments); in 3-year-old branches, it was 54% to 58%. Among treatments, shearing in July caused the smallest reduction of potential growth and yielded the largest and heaviest branches with significantly more foliage and lateral shoots, all of which would be expected to improve crown density and commercial value. October was the least favorable time to shear.

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L. Eric Hinesley and Layne K. Snelling

Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] Christmas trees up to 3.2 m in height were sampled from 18 well-managed plantations in western North Carolina to determine the yield of decoration greenery (wreaths, roping). Trees were not sidesheared in the year of harvest. The proportion of branch material suitable for decoration greenery decreased with increasing height and crown taper, but crown density had no effect. Mean annual yield of decoration greenery (establishment in the field, until reaching an average height of 3.2 m 10 years later) was 1.9 to 2.3 kg/tree per year, respectively, for trees with medium or heavy crown density.

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L. Eric Hinesley and Layne K. Snelling

Drying and rehydration characteristics were measured for Atlantic white cedar [Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P.], Arizona cypress [Cupressus arizonica var. glabra `Carolina Sapphire' (Sudworth) Little], Leyland cypress [× Cupressocyparis leylandii (A. B. Jacks. & Dallim.)], Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana L.), and eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) Christmas trees. Species varied in drying rate, loss of mass during display, water use after rehydration, the relationship between moisture content and xylem water potential (Ψ), and keeping quality. Leyland cypress and Arizona cypress rehydrated from Ψ values as low as –5.0 MPa, and remained in good condition after rehydration. The critical moisture content for Virginia pine and white pine was between –2.5 and –3.0 MPa. The ability of Atlantic white cedar to rehydrate decreased quickly with time out of water, and water consumption dropped sharply within a few days after placement in water. Change in fresh mass varied from +1% for Arizona cypress to –29% for Atlantic white cedar. Keeping quality of Virginia pine was poor, even for trees that were placed in water the day of cutting.

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L. Eric Hinesley and Layne K. Snelling

Various pruning treatments were evaluated to determine the best procedure to correct terminal bud loss in Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.]. Removing the top node (expanding terminal and subterminal buds) soon after budbreak combined with light pruning of the major branches in the next two lower whorls best restored a normal leader. This procedure allowed one or more shoots just below the cut to become orthotropic leaders in the first growing season. All but one of these shoots were removed, and only a single leader was retained after growth matured in late August or September.

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Robert D. Wright and L. Eric Hinesley

Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) seedlings were grown in 1986 through 1988 in pine bark container media with various levels of dolomitic limestone and micronutrients. Supplemental micronutrients reduced shoot growth, especially in the absence of limestone, and root growth was greatest when neither limestone nor micronutrients were added. Including at least 3.0 kg limestone/m3 in the medium was beneficial, not only as a source of nutrients, but also as a buffer against potentially toxic effects of excess micronutrients.

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L. Eric Hinesley and Layne K. Snelling

Postharvest drying of Leyland cypress [× Cupressocyparis leylandii (A.B. Jacks. & Dallim.)] branches was intermediate between eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) and Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] in two laboratory experiments. Leyland cypress rehydrated without adverse effect until xylem pressure potential reached –4.0 to –5.0 MPa (shoot moisture content = 60% to 65%). For branches continuously maintained in water, Fraser fir and Leyland cypress kept equally well over 4 weeks of display, but Leyland cypress lasted longer than Fraser fir over 8 weeks. Postharvest keeping quality of Leyland cypress and Fraser fir was better than that of eastern red cedar.

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L. Eric Hinesley and Layne K. Snelling

Dormant branches of Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] Christmas trees were subjected to single doses of gamma radiation at levels ranging from 0 to 5.0 kGy (0 to 500 kRad). Significant needle loss resulted at doses ≥0.10 kGy and increased with radiation intensity. Irradiation discolored foliage and accelerated drying. Irradiation does not appear to be a viable way to meet insect quarantine requirements on cut Fraser fir Christmas trees.

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Scott A. Derby and L. Eric Hinesley

Germination and growth of atlantic white cedar [Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P.] was evaluated in response to four container volumes (98 to 530 cm3), two substrates [North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS) container mix [3 canadian peat: 2 coarse vermiculite: 1.5 perlite (by volume), and 3 composted pine bark: 1 peat (by volume)], two controlled-release fertilizers [Osmocote 15N–4.0P–10.0K (15N–9P2O5–12K2O), 12- to 14-month southern formulation, with micros; and Polyon 18N–2.6P–10.0K (18N–6P2O5–12K2O) with micros, 9-month formulation], and three irrigation frequencies (2, 3, or 4 times daily). Although growth increased up to the maximum container volume (530 cm3), the optimum for 1-year-old seedlings appeared to be 164 to 262 cm3. The higher peat content and water holding capacity of the NCFS substrate yielded better growth than 3 bark: 1 peat. Osmocote yielded larger and heavier plants than Polyon, probably owing to more available phosphorus in the former. Irrigation three times daily was optimum. Suitable manipulation of container volume, substrate, fertilizer, and irrigation should yield high quality containerized atlantic white cedar seedlings.

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Sylvia M. Blankenship and L. Eric Hinesley

Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] branches were held at 5C for 4 to 6 weeks in the following atmospheres: 1% or 3% in nitrogen; 0%, 1%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 40%, or 50% CO2 in air; or air only. Experiments were conducted in two. years during the fall, winter, and early spring. In general, CO2 ≥ 5% accelerated needle loss. There was considerable tree-to-tree variation in tolerance to elevated CO2. Oxygen at 1% killed branches, and 3% O2 showed no benefit compared to air. The initial dark respiration rate at 21C was about four times higher than at SC. Respiration decreased for ≈ 10 days and stabilized at 14% to 20% of the initial values. Respiration increased exponentially with increasing temperature between 5 and 27C. Short-term controlled or modified atmosphere storage would probably not be useful in improving the postharvest handling of Fraser fir.

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L. Eric Hinesley and Layne K. Snelling

Stem cuttings of Atlantic white cedar [Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P.] were collected in early June 1995, divided into two parts (distal tip and proximal segment), and rooted for 12 weeks in shaded containers outdoors. Total rooting was near 80%. Mist intervals of 8 and 15 min yielded the best rooting percentages and the least dieback and injury. Two rooting media were tested, with similar results. Rooting was slightly higher in Spencer-Lemaire Rootrainers (Hillson size), compared to RoPak Multi-pots (#45). More than 90% of the tips rooted, even without IBA treatment. Auxin improved rooting of stem segments, but the difference between IBA at 1.5 and 3.0 g·L-1 was small. Yield of cuttings suitable for transplanting or potting was 80% for tips, 58% for segments. Dividing stem cuttings into two or more parts allows multiplication of rooted propagules from a collection. Chemical name used: 1H-indole-3-butyric acid (IBA).