Variation of first generation loblolly pine plantation selections using a broad regional planting


Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda, L.) is the most commercially important timber species in the South. Its growth traits and susceptibility to fusiform rust disease (Cronartium quercuum f.sp. fusiforme, Hedgc. & N. Hunt) have a great impact on the economics of plantations. In previous studies, the regional diversity in fusiform rust disease resistance and growth traits has been looked at through open pollinated trials and controlled inoculations of fusiform rust. These earlier trials do not fully express the potential of regional diversity, because these genetic trials were not uniformly spread across the planting region or lacked a broad genetic base. A series of seventeen tests with 140 loblolly pine families from plantation selections planted across the southeastern region of the U.S. are being analyzed to determine if patterns of geographic differences for height, diameter, straightness, and rust resistance exist for improved loblolly pine in the southern US. Preliminary results show rust infection rates for test sites ranging from 1% to 84% and 86% overall survival rate for all tests. Further results from this trial will reveal the regional patterns of growth traits and rust resistance between families, but most importantly will answer some questions on whether or not it is necessary to have such a large scale project for current and future generations.


  • Generate quantitative genetic values for height, DBH (diameter at 4.5’), rust disease, and straightness.

    Use these terms to compare with previous trials and define plantation selections
  • Determine if first generation plantation selections, using a pollen mix, have superior gain compared to     previously studied first generation open pollinated families.
  • Determine if a large scale or small scale testing design would work better for testing.

    See if general trends are the same between these types of tests or if they show drastically different results.

    Committee members

    Steve McKeand

    Fikret Isik

    Ross Whetten

    Consuelo Arellano


    Thanks to MeadWestvaco, Scott Paper Co, Rayonier Inc, Federal Paper Board Co, International Paper, Champion, Georgia-Pacific, Union Camp, Bowater, the Georgia Forestry Commission, and the Alabama Forestry Commission for use of their lands for planting tests and providing assistance with data (some of these companies have gone out of business or merged with others).

    Thanks to the North Carolina State Tree Improvement Office for providing funds and assistance with data.


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