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Publication Information

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Title: Genetic Improvement of Eastern Cottonwood

Author: Farmer, Robert E. Jr.; Mohn, Carl A.;

Date: 1970

Source: In: Silviculture and Management of Southern Hardwoods. Louisiana State University 19th Annual Forestry Symposium Proceedings. 6-17.

Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)

Description: Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides Bartt.) genetics research has moved during the past decade from formal statements of its promise to long-term formal tests of commercially promising material. Much of this research has been conducted in the Lower Mississippi Valley. wh.ere cottonwood has major commercial importance. but there have been significant contributions from other areas. Breeding progress in this region was last summarized by Farmer (1966). At this point we would like to review recent advances. Initial improvement efforts in the Mississippi Valley were made during the 1950s by the U.S. Forest Service at the Delta Research Center (now Southern Hardwoods Laboratory), Stoneville, Mississippi. This work consisted of selecting phenotypically superior trees and testing them as clones after propagation by cuttings (Maisenhelder 1961). Some Populus hybrids of European and northeastern origin were also tested and found to be unsuitable for the Lower Mississippi Valley (Maisenhelder 1970). Encouraging early results and expanding industrial interest led to establishment of other breeding programs in the early 1960s. These include a broad cottonwood genetics project at the Southern Hardwoods Laboratory; major state and university programs in Illinois, Texas. and Oklahoma; and smaller scale applied breeding efforts by several other state and industrial groups. The general goal of these breeding programs is development of planting stock with a genetic makeup which will result in increased financial returns to the planter. Such stock may have superior genetic potential for growth rate. wood properties. and pest resistance. or a combination of these and other advantageous traits. Specific goals may well vary with the current silvicultural system employed and management objectives. They may require future adjustment as a result of technological changes which influence utilization or harvesting and because of. changes in cultural practices. Information obtained from genetics research may also have a direct influence on future breeding objectives.. Therefore. programs should be designed with the flexibility necessary to respond to changes in specific goals and priorities.

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Farmer, Robert E., Jr.; Mohn, Carl A. 1970. Genetic Improvement of Eastern Cottonwood. In: Silviculture and Management of Southern Hardwoods. Louisiana State University 19th Annual Forestry Symposium Proceedings. 6-17.


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