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Development of stem cracks in young hybrid aspen plantations

Šēnhofa, Silva, Zeps, Mārtiņš, Gailis, Arnis, Kāpostiņš, Rolands, Jansons, Āris
Metsanduslikud uurimused 2017 v.65 no.1 pp. 16-23
bark, clones, fungi, hybrids, plantations, probability, tree and stand measurements, trees, wood, wood quality, Latvia
Cracks expose wood to fungal infections that significantly affects wood quality, while rapid wound occlusion decreases probability of infections. Assessment of scars was done at four grade scale in three adjacent hybrid aspen trials at the age of 8-10 years in central part of Latvia three years after bark crack occurrence. Occluded wounds were found for 95% of damaged trees, regardless of tree age. Among trees that had cracks wider than 1 cm, 42% had uniformly healed bark, but 7% still had open wounds. Wound development was significantly affected by crack width and length (both p < 0.001), but had no clear relation with tree DBH (diameter at breast height) and relative DBH increment (both p > 0.05). At clonal mean level, scar grade was significantly affected by grade of crack three years earlier and clone (both p < 0.001), but mean DBH of clone had no relation (p > 0.05) to proportion of trees evaluated by any of the scar grades. The results suggest that three years after the bark crack formation most of them had successfully occluded and selection of clones with better diameter growth has no influence on development of cracks.