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Forests 2015, 6(5), 1537-1556; doi:10.3390/f6051537

Effects of Temporal Dynamics, Nut Weight and Nut Size on Growth of American Chestnut, Chinese Chestnut and Backcross Generations in a Commercial Nursery

1
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, 359 Main Rd, Delaware, OH 43015, USA
2
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Rm 274 Ellington Plant Science Building, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
3
Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, The University of Tennessee Rm 274 Ellington Plant Science Building, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
4
Department of Animal Science, The University of Tennessee, 232 Brehm Animal Science Building, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
5
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 2500 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA 31360, USA
6
The American Chestnut Foundation, 29010 Hawthorne Dr, Meadowview, VA 24361, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kevin O’Hara and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 2 February 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
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Abstract

Blight-resistant American chestnut (Castanea dentata) may soon be commercially available, but few studies have tested methods to produce high quality seedlings that will be competitive after planting. This study evaluated the performance of one American, one Chinese (C. mollissima), one second-generation backcross (BC3F2), and 10 third-generation backcross chestnut families (BC3F3). We examine growth over one year in a commercial tree nursery in east Tennessee. We examined relationships among nut size and weight and seedling growth, between germination timing and seedling survival, and between germination percentage and growth. Across the population tested, a 1 g increase in nut weight corresponded to a 6 cm increase in seedling height, a 0.5 mm increase in root collar diameter and one additional first order lateral root, but models had low predictive power. BC3F3 chestnuts grew similarly to American chestnuts, with substantial differences in growth among chestnut families within generation. Nuts that germinated by 23 April had greater than 1955 odds of surviving the first growing season than nuts that germinated in late May. American and backcross chestnut growth slowed in late June, presumably due to exhaustion of their cotyledons before leaf expansion. These results will help nursery managers refine cultural practices to maximize growth of backcross chestnuts. View Full-Text
Keywords: American chestnut; Castanea dentata; nursery practices; seedling quality; forest restoration American chestnut; Castanea dentata; nursery practices; seedling quality; forest restoration
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pinchot, C.C.; Clark, S.L.; Schlarbaum, S.E.; Saxton, A.M.; Sung, S.-J.S.; Hebard, F.V. Effects of Temporal Dynamics, Nut Weight and Nut Size on Growth of American Chestnut, Chinese Chestnut and Backcross Generations in a Commercial Nursery. Forests 2015, 6, 1537-1556.

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