Suitability of cold-hardy loblolly and pitch x loblolly hybrid pines for commercial pine straw production in Missouri
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Pine straw production is a multi-million dollar industry, primarily in the Southern United States. The pine species, Pinus palustris Mill., P. elliotii Eng. and P. taeda L., which are the primary sources for commercially produced pine straw, cannot survive winters in the Midwestern United States. In this study, ten P. rigida x taeda, and ten cold-hardy P. taeda half-sib families, developed to thrive in colder climates, were evaluated for their suitability for commercial pine straw production, by comparing growth and form, needle length, pine straw yield, and resistance to snow and ice damage. For growth and winter damage resistance, the study found that all the families of P. rigida x taeda performed similarly to each other, and to results from previous studies of P. rigida x taeda. Needle characteristics for P. rigida x taeda were similar to those of P. taeda and were adequate for pine straw production. Pine straw yields were similar among all families of P. rigida x taeda and P. taeda. Growth rates and needle lengths of most of the ten cold-hardy P. taeda families were similar to each other and greater than the P. rigida x taeda families in this study. Cold-hardy P. taeda and P. rigida x taeda families withstood snow and ice damage to a similar extent. Based on our results, P. rigida x taeda and cold-hardy P. taeda appear to be suitable for pine straw production in Midwestern climates.
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