Juvenile growth and frost damages of poplar clone OP42 in Latvia
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Short rotation plantations in the northern Europe are commonly established using poplar clone OP42 (Populus maximowiczii Henry × P. trichocarpa Torr. and Gray). We assessed its growth and suitability to the climate in central part of Latvia at juvenile age. Trees that had formed single stem were significantly higher (121 ± 2.5 cm), thicker (7.1 ± 0.48 mm) and had longer branches (32 ± 1.5 cm) than trees that had formed multiple stems. In beginning of the second growing season all trees had died stems and 19.6% of them formed new shoots from the ground level. The sprouting trees had random spatial distribution in the field. Regardless of the number of stems, the sprouting trees were significantly lower (110 ± 3.9 cm) than the dead trees (119 ± 2.0 cm). During the repeated assessment about one month later, proportion of the sprouting trees increased up to 44%, but the detected relations between measured traits of sprouting and dead trees remained. Clone OP42 had serious frost induced damages also in autumn phenology experiment (96% trees with severely damaged leaves). Our results suggest that frost prone sites are not suitable for establishment of plantations of OP42 clone.