Time and distance to clear wood in pruned red alder saplings Public Deposited



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  • Pruning trials in young alder stands were sampled to evaluate response to pruning. Effects of pruning (1) live branches on different dates, and (2) dead branches with or without damaging the branch collar were assessed on trees pruned in 3- and 6-year-old plantations, respectively. Six years after pruning, stem sections were collected and dissected in the longitudinal-radial plane to expose the center of the stem and branch stub. Ring counts and linear measurements were made for various boundaries or points, including time of pruning, stub length, defect, and beginning of clear wood formation. Pruning during the growing season and, to a lesser extent, late in the growing season when leaf abscission was beginning, resulted in shorter times and distances to formation of clear wood (2.1 years, 14.5 mm) than pruning in the dormant season or just prior to the beginning of the growing season (2.6 years, 18.6 mm). Cutting the branch collar on dead branches led to shorter times and distances to clear wood (2.8 years, 21.9 mm) than intentionally avoiding such wounding (3.5 years, 24.8 mm); these differences were associated with shorter branch stubs as there were no differences in the amount of defect. Epicormic branching was minimal in the two pruning studies, averaging less than one branch per tree in the date of pruning test and only two branches per tree in the branch collar wounding study. Assessments for comparable unpruned trees indicated that times to form clear wood after branch death would be markedly greater and that epicormic branching was equal to or greater than that determined for pruned trees. Although statistically significant differences occurred among different pruning dates and with branch collar wounding, the decision to prune or not prune is of much greater practical importance, regardless of when (date) or how it is done. Such pruning decisions can be made by using this information on time and distance to clear wood in economic analyses developed with available data on tree growth, log volume, lumber recovery, pruning costs, and price differentials for clear vs. knotty wood.
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  • Dean S. Debell, Constance A. Harrington, Barbara L. Gartner, and Ryan Singleton. 2006. Time and Distance to Clear Wood in Pruned Red Alder Saplings. In Deal, R.L. and C.A. Harrington, eds. 2006. Red alder—a state of knowledge. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-669. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 150 p.
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