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Strength and structure of stems from fast grown Pinus radiata

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Segments of living stems from 2-year-old, fast growing Pinus radiata, established on a fertile ex-pasture, were examined in terms of their bending strength parallel to the grain. Stem anatomical and structural variables were examined to identify variables that could explain variation in bending strength. Half of the seedlings were physically supported to minimise the confounding effects of compression wood production in response to environmental stresses. Differences between seedlings and cuttings were examined. Variation in microfibril angle and lignin content was sufficient to account for 81% of the variation in bending strength. A positive correlation between both of these variables and elasticity was evident. Few differences were found to be caused by the support treatment or between seedlings and cuttings. The support treatment resulted in significantly fewer branches in the top most whorl, while cuttings had less branches in this whorl than seedlings.

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Correspondence to Geoffrey M. Downes.

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Downes, G.M., Beckers, E.P.J., Turvey, N.D. et al. Strength and structure of stems from fast grown Pinus radiata . Trees 7, 131–136 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00199612

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Key words

  • Pinus radiata
  • Stem strength
  • Elasticity
  • Lignin
  • Microfibril angle