Wood quality studies in second-growth western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn.) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qv33s0535

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  • Western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn.) is a valuable commercial species found in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada. This dissertation includes four papers focused on wood and stem characteristics of second-growth western redcedar, and how those characteristics vary within the stem or how they are influenced by cultural practices. Trees from three study sites were used these studies: 1) approximately 90-year-old trees from a naturally regenerated, unmanaged stand in northwest Oregon, 2) a 35- year-old planted western redcedar spacing trial near Vancouver, British Columbia, and 3) an approximately 30-year-old, naturally regenerated western redcedar stand that had received thinning and fertilization treatments on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Characteristics studied at one or more sites include stem taper, branch diameter, incidence and severity of stem fluting, sapwood width and area, heartwood radius and area, heartwood percentage, content of tropolones (toxic extractives) in the heartwood, and decay resistance of heartwood in soil block tests. Stem morphological characteristics such as branch size, taper and fluting increased with tree spacing. Tropolone content and decay resistance varied substantially within the stem, with the lowest levels of each usually found in wood near the pith or the top of the tree; this pattern indicates a "juvenile wood" with respect to tropolone content exists in western redcedar. Wood with high tropolone content had high decay resistance in soil block tests, while wood with low tropolone content was extremely variable in decay resistance. Heartwood and sapwood relationships varied both within the stem and between trees subjected to different cultural treatments. Within the stem, the quantity and proportion of heartwood increased from the top of the tree downward. Trees that grew faster as a result of cultural treatments had more sapwood and heartwood, and tended to have a higher proportion of heartwood compared to their slower-growing counterparts. It appears that cultural treatments can be used to exert a significant influence on wood and stem characteristics in western redcedar.
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