Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently-asked questions and brief answers about “Pine, Loblolly, 2nd Gen 1-0” and “Pine, Loblolly, 3rd Gen 1-0”.
What is the difference between the first-, second-, and third-generation orchards?
- In Virginia, trees in natural stands were selected based on phenotype (appearance - form and size) beginning in the 1950’s.
- Cuttings from those trees were grafted to establish the 1st generation seed orchards; this included 25 to 30 unrelated parents (families).
- Compared to unimproved native seedlings the 1st generation families averaged 12 percent better in growth.
- This orchard phased out of production in the late 1990’s.
- Crosses of parents from that first orchard along with new selections were used to establish the 2nd generation orchard.
- Compared to unimproved seedlings the 2nd generation families average 27 percent better in growth after the poorer-performing families were cut out (rogued).
- The single best family in the 2nd generation orchard grows 90 percent faster than unimproved seedlings.
- This orchard is phasing out of production over the next few years.
- The top families in the 1st- and 2nd-generation orchards as well as some new selections from natural plantations were brought together in the newest orchards; because they are not all derived directly from the second generation selections, these orchards are sometimes called “3rd cycle” instead of “3rd generation”.
- Compared to unimproved seedlings the 3rd cycle families average 37 percent better in growth after roguing.
- The first seed from those orchards are being collected now and more will become available each year.
What are improved seedlings worth?
- Depending on the site quality, forest management inputs, and the market specs / prices for harvested products:
- We estimate that the best families are worth between $50 to $300 more per acre in present value when compared to average families that most landowners plant.
- In the DOF second generation orchard, tree improvement efforts have added between $85 and $173 per thousand to the value of seedlings (on sites with Site Index between 65 and 70).
Can continued tree improvement yield additional gains?
- We have not come close to reaching the potential genetic gains in productivity, disease resistance, and quality traits.
- With the current aggressive breeding programs we estimate that the value of plantations established increases about 1% each year.
Last modified: Thursday, 06-Nov-2014 10:35:59 EST