Current issue: 55(5)
Under compilation: 56(1)
Our main objective was to determine whether various genetically improved reproductive materials of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) differ in growth rhythm, autumn cold acclimation and resilience from unimproved materials. The study consisted of two successive indoor experiments with Scots pine seedlings representing four levels of genetic gain (unimproved natural stands, first-generation seed orchards, 1.5-generation seed orchards and seed orchards established with freezing-tested parents) and a wide range of geographical origins within Finland. The seedlings were assessed for terminal shoot elongation, growth cessation, bud set, freezing injuries and bud flushing over the first growth period. All the adaptive traits showed a latitudinal trend regardless of the genetic level. Seed orchard progenies and natural stand progenies did not differ significantly in the timing of growth cessation, bud set, and the flushing rate of the frost-injured seedlings, after the trait variation was adjusted to the latitude of origin. The differences in autumn frost hardiness were insignificant, too, except for the somewhat higher injury rate displayed by the first-generation seed orchard materials. The finding was not conclusive due to ambiguous results from the two experiments. Overall, we did not find evidence of alarming compromises in the adaptive performance of genetically improved materials.
In this paper the connection between seed weight and amount and duration of growth are studied at the progeny level within stands or climatically uniform areas, and at the provenance level within larger geographic areas. The material consists of materials of several experiments in the nursery of Maisala in Southern Finland in 1971–76. The origins of the plant material used in the different experiments ranged from progenies of individual Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) or Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) trees to provenance selections covering almost the whole natural range of these species.
The effect of seed weight on plant height is strongest immediately after germination and subsequently decreases steadily, when the genetic growth properties of the plants themselves become effective. The effect is usually visible at least until the end of the 1st growing season. This relationship varies considerably depending on the material studied. The connections between the duration and the amount of height growth also proved to differ according to the nature of genetic variation. In wide selection of provenances, which show clear genetic differentiation in annual growth rhythm. The variation in the duration of growth accounts for most of the differences in total height growth. At the individual and family level or between provenances of a limited area, there seems to be no clear connection between the duration and the amount of growth. It seems that the duration of the annual growing period is a genetic property, which is not affected by seed weight.
The total height alone in 1-year old test material grown in a greenhouse had hardly any value in the forecasting of growth capacity. The growth differences were caused mainly by the variation in seed size and growth rate differences during the growing period.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.