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Author Topic: Breeding a specific tree  (Read 491 times)

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Offline mike_belben

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Breeding a specific tree
« on: April 24, 2021, 04:51:51 PM »
This row of young pines was mowed by me accidentally about 5 years ago and this one is double the size of the others.  What type of pine is it and how can i sprout seedlings from it to plant elsewhere?  I dont even know what part the seed is. 









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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2021, 05:30:27 PM »
Probably Virginia pine if needles in pairs or pitch if in 3's. The thing in your hand is the seed cone, seeds are inside, they will have wings on them, but might be empty already. They stay on the tree for years. The second photo is the pollen cones. The female cone will be solitary most of the time, but could be 2 or 3 together. It will be green and look prickly.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2021, 07:59:47 PM »
So how do the male and female parts interract?  Does one tree self pollinate or is another tree required?  Do i wait for a new crop of cones for fresh viable seed or.. ?  


Is freezing required or can i sprout them in pots once seed is in hand?
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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2021, 06:22:40 AM »
They will self pollinate if the flowers of each are present. They mature by September, probably need a few weeks of cold to break dormancy before planting. If there are old cones with seed, you can try them at any time, they may germinate or may be old, not out anything but time. ;) Wind and insects do the work or pollinating, mostly wind for the masses and insect for the individual tree, on a day with a stiff breeze just watch the clouds of pollen take flight. :D
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2021, 10:55:43 AM »
I don't know how long the seeds are viable inside a cone, but very often you can break up a cone that appears empty and there will still be a few seeds left in it.  Do you feel like that tree is a superior specimen  because it is taller and that's why you want to breed it?  Very often in my experience the ones that are taller are because they just got lucky that the deer didnt eat the top off.  My two main issues with pine surviving to adulthood are that the deer like to eat the new growth on top of young trees and the deer love to use young pines to rub their antlers on.  I know that where there are no pine trees, the deer will use something else to rub on, but on my land they almost exclusively rub on pine trees.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2021, 05:06:29 PM »
I have a row of them that were all mowed even on the same day in 2016, as the grass was pocket high from abandonment.  

 this one is over my head, double the height of the others.   You can almost watch it grow.
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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2021, 08:11:35 PM »
How many needles to the fascicle?
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2021, 09:11:50 PM »
A brief summary of controlled pollination of pine trees. 

https://nz.pfolsen.com/market-info-news/wood-matters/2015/april/controlled-pollination-to-improve-tree-growth/

Pines are wind pollinated, so that males open fertilised seeds pretty much random. So the male and female cones are isolated in bags, and manually fertilised with the selected parent tree. 

Selectively breeding trees for the best results is why NZ Radiata is very different to the native California trees. It's not just growth rates than can be selected for. Disease resistance, wood strength, branch size and wind strength are all factors.  But at the simplest level, collecting seeds from the best trees is a good strategy. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2021, 11:01:46 AM »
How many needles to the fascicle?
two.  it does appear to be virginia pine based on photo comparisons with the scrap in my hand. 
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Offline HemlockKing

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 04:51:19 AM »
A brief summary of controlled pollination of pine trees.

https://nz.pfolsen.com/market-info-news/wood-matters/2015/april/controlled-pollination-to-improve-tree-growth/

Pines are wind pollinated, so that males open fertilised seeds pretty much random. So the male and female cones are isolated in bags, and manually fertilised with the selected parent tree.

Selectively breeding trees for the best results is why NZ Radiata is very different to the native California trees. It's not just growth rates than can be selected for. Disease resistance, wood strength, branch size and wind strength are all factors.  But at the simplest level, collecting seeds from the best trees is a good strategy.
Forgive my ignorance but what exactly is “best tree”, I’m new to forestry and the botany behind it all, from my understanding most trees given good conditions will fare well? The pines I always see that look unhealthy I reckoned it was just attacked by wildlife/insects or wind throw and not necessarily related to the genetics of the tree, I can understand favouring genetics that are resistant to rot and disease but other than that what other factors make a good tree? Or is that pretty much it

That leads me to wonder that if all these ugly pines I see aren’t bad genetics they have just been attacked by deer, weevil etc 

Offline Ianab

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2021, 06:32:37 AM »
Forgive my ignorance but what exactly is best tree


Good question. 

When you have a sample of one tree it's hard to determine if it's a perfectly good tree genetically, that's just had a hard life, or was it genetically predisposed to have problems? So if you are collecting seed, why take the chance. Pick seed from a tree that KNOW has good genetic potential, 

Even if the damage was caused by insects or fungus, some trees have more natural resistance that others. Same for wind damage. Both can lead to multiple leaders. Then you get into the quantity and quality of the wood produced. A tree that's more likely to grow fast, straight, with smaller branches ( hence knots) is going to produce more and better lumber. It even involves taking into account the amount of juvenile wood vs mature wood in the log. Juvenile wood is weaker and less stable, so a lower % of that in the log is good. 

So when you are planting 100s of thousands of the trees, you start to see those genetic differences. The higher "GF" trees have a much higher % of tall straight trees with high quality logs. Maybe it is actually down to less fungus or wind damage, but that's because you chose seed that was better able to resist that damage. "Wild" sourced seed are a much more mixed bunch.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2021, 09:24:35 AM »
Why bother?
 Near me is a KY Div of Forestry tree farm that sells various seedlings grown there for such low prices in huge quantities as to make it not feasible to grow your own? 
I was told by a forester they were growing trees by "selection" based on fast growth and resistance, etc.. Swampdonkey here , a forester says there is little variation among wild trees as I suppose the genetics have already done their thing over the eons?
Surely TN does the same forestry farm seedlings? My planting, done on cost sharing, was alternate rows of EWP and Virginia pine. The EWP's have outgrown the Virginia's by a slight edge. I planted in 1993? I think, and just harvested one of the Virginia's on an edge near a woods road for two 16' log ceiling joists. I lost hundreds of them in rain-ice-snow falls of recent weather. Dominoed down they went and still have some to clean up. 
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2021, 10:14:26 AM »
At the beginnings here most seed was just collected from wild trees that expressed good growth. You can see this strategy alone was not the best. Jack pine being limby, crooked as rams horns and does not grow well past pole stage at the typical 6 foot spacing of spruce and soon after blows down or dies back so bad it's not producing much.

Turns out however, black spruce that was tested from three Atlantic provinces did best from New Brunswick sources, being still connected to the mainland and not an Island or isolated by a large swamp march. Red pine here had nothing to be gained from all the testing done. I've still never seen a black spruce out grow a fir. They will grow good in height, but not get the diameter. They also tend to loose stem strength as will be seen if you get heavy wet snow for days hanging on, your tops of pole trees will hit the ground.

As for white pine, most of what you see for quality there is influenced by weevil and high grading logging practices, they always leave junk pine. Those trees with 3 or 4 tops because the weevils killed the leader, and maybe more than once until you're above pole stage. Pine does not recover as nicely as spruce to produce a straight stem.

Back about 30 years ago I was told the genetic gain was 3 to 4 percent at most. These were genetic guys breeding trees. I've been to many seed orchards for nurseries and none used controlled pollination except for specific tests or experiments they are doing. Many orchards are established from rooted cuttings from 'plus trees' in nature to get maturity quicker and let them pollinate openly as the chips may fall. ;)

Kingsclear tree nursery used to have literature on their operations, good luck finding any these days. Nothing online, not even a website. Over the last 30 years DNR has pretty much kept to themselves and big forestry licenses and closed the doors to woodlot owners.
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Offline HemlockKing

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Re: Breeding a specific tree
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 02:16:03 PM »
At the beginnings here most seed was just collected from wild trees that expressed good growth. You can see this strategy alone was not the best. Jack pine being limby, crooked as rams horns and does not grow well past pole stage at the typical 6 foot spacing of spruce and soon after blows down or dies back so bad it's not producing much.

Turns out however, black spruce that was tested from three Atlantic provinces did best from New Brunswick sources, being still connected to the mainland and not an Island or isolated by a large swamp march. Red pine here had nothing to be gained from all the testing done. I've still never seen a black spruce out grow a fir. They will grow good in height, but not get the diameter. They also tend to loose stem strength as will be seen if you get heavy wet snow for days hanging on, your tops of pole trees will hit the ground.

As for white pine, most of what you see for quality there is influenced by weevil and high grading logging practices, they always leave junk pine. Those trees with 3 or 4 tops because the weevils killed the leader, and maybe more than once until you're above pole stage. Pine does not recover as nicely as spruce to produce a straight stem.

Back about 30 years ago I was told the genetic gain was 3 to 4 percent at most. These were genetic guys breeding trees. I've been to many seed orchards for nurseries and none used controlled pollination except for specific tests or experiments they are doing. Many orchards are established from rooted cuttings from 'plus trees' in nature to get maturity quicker and let them pollinate openly as the chips may fall. ;)

Kingsclear tree nursery used to have literature on their operations, good luck finding any these days. Nothing online, not even a website. Over the last 30 years DNR has pretty much kept to themselves and big forestry licenses and closed the doors to woodlot owners.
Out of all the spruce I have red spruce gets the biggest, have a couple around 150 yr and 22-24 inch in dia, close second would be white spruce but I have also seen black spruce get nice and big. I like the crown of black spruce most as it can obtain a droopiness the others can’t (red,white) from my observations. I’m wondering if it would be worth planting Norway spruce in my land, I like the look of those trees, they sure look limby though, like balsam


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