Current issue: 54(2)
Phenology can have a profound effect on growth and climatic adaptability of long-lived, northern tree species such as Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), where the onset of growth in the spring is triggered mainly by accumulated heat, while cessation of growth is related to the joint effect of photoperiod and temperature. In this study, the objectives were: (1) to compare shoot phenology of genetic material from Scandinavia (maritime climate origin) and northern Russia (continental climate origin) sources, under field conditions in both Scandinavia and Russia (maritime and continental growth conditions); and (2) to estimate the heritabilities of phenological parameters. The material used was part of a larger provenance test series involving Scots pine populations and open-pollinated plus-tree families from Russia, Sweden and Finland. Terminal shoot elongation was measured on multiple occasions during the seventh growing season from seed at a trial near Bäcksjön (Sweden) and Syktyvkar (northern Russia). We calculated the regression of relative shoot elongation over accumulated heat sum above +5 °C using an exponential expression. Seedlings of Swedish and Russian provenance had similar heat-sum requirements for growth onset and cessation in both trials. More northern provenances started onset and cessation at a lower temperature sum, but heat accumulation requirements for onset were not fixed. Scots pine may suffer from spring frost due to earlier growth onset in a warming climate. Variation and heritability of phenological traits show potential to adapt Scots pine to new climate conditions by breeding.
Results on early survival, growth and shoot phenology of hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) and poplar clones (P. trichocarpa Torr. & A. Gray, P. balsamifera L., P. maximowiczii A. Henry and their hybrids) in 13 Scandinavian field trials are presented. The trials were established on forest land (7 sites) or former agricultural land (6 sites) within the latitude range of 56° to 65° N and were assessed 3–4 years after establishment. The main aim was to evaluate phenotypic and genetic differences related to early survival, growth and phenology for hybrid aspen and poplar for different site types and latitudes. Growth and survival was generally higher for hybrid aspen than poplar at all sites. The poor performance of poplar compared to hybrid aspen is likely due to climatic maladaptation or high soil acidity. The early growth performance of the species need to be confirmed at a higher age. The genetic variation and genetic control for growth, phenology and survival was in general intermediate to large indicating good possibilities for effective clonal selection. The genetic site x site correlations (rGE) for growth were for hybrid aspen mostly strong, indicating a weak genotype by environment interaction, while rGE were inconsistent for poplars.The result suggests that southern Sweden can be treated as a single test and utilization zone and in northern Sweden the region along the coast may be another zone. It is too early to make any corresponding conclusions for poplar. In addition, the result backs up the current recommendations for utilization of selected hybrid aspen and poplar regeneration material in Sweden.