June 2020 – 1st Edition
See the Forest Before the Seedlings
Genetic Demonstration Plantings
Product demonstrations are valuable tools for consumers and end-users in many industries. Perhaps you have seen a product demonstration for electronics or machinery where you can physically see the finished product in person, push the buttons, or “kick the tires”. When you test drive a car you can feel how the vehicle handles, you can try the seats and see how the dashboard is arranged. This same idea is possible with your forest tree seedlings. It’s hard to open a box of seedlings and “kick the tires” for future wood yield, disease resistance, and stem quality. Genetic demonstrations, or “demos”, are a great opportunity for landowners and foresters to see the differences between genetic performance levels of families on different soil types. They allow you to see the forest before the seedlings are selected, purchased, and planted on your own land.
If you plant small amounts of different families on your land, you then have to wait several years for the trees to grow before deciding which performs the best. Not only that, but you’ve also had to invest the money to plant and manage them in the meantime. This is where ArborGen demonstration plots become very valuable to our customers. We make the investment in the research, planting, and management for you. Genetic demonstrations of different families offer an opportunity for our customers to see how performance levels correspond to the actual trees in the field. Some people are data-oriented and want to see the numbers supporting the genetics they select while others are more visual and prefer to see the differences in a field setting.
Each year ArborGen installs many acres of field trials on different sites to evaluate hundreds of families across the southeastern United States. These trials are designed to provide good statistical information to select the best performing families for your land. The demos allow customers to view different families or varieties in larger plots such as in rows or blocks. . A landowner can compare families on the same site and envision how that family may grow on their own land, under their own management. Documented performance scores can be compared to the trees in the field to help landowners connect the gain values to the appearance of the trees. How much should I care about fusiform rust resistance compared to growth or stem straightness? What does a family with 50% volume gain look like compared to one with 80% gain? Demos are planted each year so that we have a progression of plantings at different ages across the southeastern US to allow people to see OP families, MCP® families, or Varietals in a plantation setting before they make a decision to purchase.
Typically a range of product performance levels is included so you can see the differences growth, disease resistance, and stem form. We also include an unimproved seedlot, or checklot, for comparison to the commercial families.
All of this is done to help demonstrate the opportunities a landowner has to increase the value and performance of their forest plantation by selecting the right genetics. A good demo helps you see the forest before the trees are purchased and planted. Contact your Reforestation Advisor for more information on what our demo plots can show you.
Article by Patrick Cumbie, Ph.D.,
Manager, Pine Development
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Performance in the Field
Best Log Quality Possible
Check out these 6-year old Varietals in Screven Co., Georgia. They are very uniform and straight with small, flat-angled branches. They’ll make excellent logs or poles!
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Did You Know?
In addition to helping you with your seedling genetics decisions, ArborGen Reforestation Advisors can also give you great silvicultural recommendations to maximize your success?
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