Current issue: 53(4)
A review is made into the experiences and possibilities of willow breeding, with a particular consideration of their application under Finnish conditions.
In comparison with other tree genera, Salix has many advantages in breeding. The great number of species, large genetic variation between and within species and frequent crossability offer good possibilities for improvement by hybridization. The dioecious flowering, plentiful seed production and short generation cycle are valuable properties for breeding by controlled pollination. Individuals with desirable characteristics can be easily propagated vegetatively from cuttings. The propertied stated above are also characteristic of poplars, the breeding of which has resulted in great success. Corresponding results can be therefore expected from willow breeding, which has recently been initiated in several countries.
Today willows have no practical significance for forestry in Finland. There are, however, some suitable Salix species, both indigenous and exotic, for starting material for breeding, and plenty of favourable sites for willows. Therefore, the beginning of breeding research with willows should be well justified also in Finland.
The PDF includes a summary in English.