Canadian Forest Service Publications

Comparison between genetic and environmental influences on lumber bending properties in young white spruce. 2006. Beaulieu, J.; Zhang, S.Y.; Yu, Q.; Rainville, A. Wood Fiber Sci. 38: 553-564.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26630

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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This study investigated variation in lumber bending properties of white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss) and its correlation with tree growth, wood density, and knot size and number. A total of 242 sample trees from 39 open-pollinated families harvested from 36-year-old provenance-progeny trials at two sites in Quebec, Canada through a thinning operation were processed. The results indicate that mechanical properties of lumber from young white spruce plantation-grown trees are low. It appears that low wood density, the occurrence of numerous knots, and a high proportion of juvenile wood are the main factors contributing to the low lumber stiffness and strength properties. The narrow-sense heritability for lumber stiffness was low to moderate, whereas that of strength was hardly different from zero. Thus environmental growing conditions highly influence white spruce wood mechanical properties. The results also revealed a strong negative correlation between stem volume and lumber stiffness and strength at the family means, which suggests that selection for volume would have an indirect negative effect on lumber quality. However, the absence of such significant correlation at the phenotypic level also suggests that mass selection with vegetative propagation would be a promising avenue for improving white spruce wood properties without having to give up gains in volume.