Effects of release from suppression on wood functional characteristics in young Douglas-fir and western hemlock Public Deposited

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  • Little is known of wood properties in trees that were initially suppressed and subsequently released from suppression. The purpose of this study was to assess differences in growth ring width, specific conductivity (Ks), tracheid dimensions, moisture content, and wood density in suppressed Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) trees and trees released from suppression averaging 12-18 years of age. Growth ring width was 370% higher for Douglas-fir and 300% higher for western hemlock trees released from suppression, and Ks was 182% higher for Douglas-fir and 42% higher for western hemlock trees released from suppression. Earlywood width approximately four times greater after release in both species, whereas the relative increase in latewood width was much greater in Douglas-fir. Tracheids were 25% wider and 11% longer in released Douglas-fir trees. In western hemlock, released trees had 19% wider tracheids that were approximately the same length as those in suppressed trees. Moisture content was 66% greater in released Douglas-fir and 41% greater in released western hemlock. Wood density decreased by 21% in Douglas-fir trees and and by 11% in western hemlock trees released from suppression. However, wood density of released trees did not differ from average reported values, implying that wood from released trees may be suitable for many of its traditional applications.
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  • Heidi J. Renninger, Barbara L. Gartner, and Frederick C. Meinzer. 2006. Effects of release from suppression on wood functional characteristics in young Douglas-fir and western hemlock. Can. J. For. Res. 36: 2038-2046.
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