Canadian Forest Service Publications

Field performance of several tree species and stock types planted in montane forests of coastal British Columbia. 1994. Arnott, J.T.; Pendl, F.T. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, BC. Information Report BC-X-347. 45 p.

Year: 1994

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 3540

Language: English

Series: Information Report (PFC - Victoria)

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


The need for tree species selection on a site specific basis to regenerate the province’s forests is now recognized throughout British Columbia. However, little research has been done to assess the suitability of species, stock types and planting seasons in coastal high-elevation ecosystems. To address these issues, planting trials were established at sites within the Mountain Hemlock and montane Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zones. Six test areas were chosen within each zone. Amabilis fir (Abies amabilis), noble fir (A. procera), yellow cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) were the species selected for planting in the Mountain Hemlock zone. In addition to Abies amabilis and A. procera, western white pine (Pinus monticola), western redcedar (Thuja plicata), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) were planted in the Coastal Western Hemlock zone. Plug (PSB 211), plug transplant and bareroot stock types were used for the eight species across both zones. Seedlings were planted during the fall (September/October) and spring (May) in each of two successive years: 1978-1979 and 1979-1980. Survival, growth and tree form 13 years after planting were used as indicators of the reliability (a combination of tree survival and form) and productivity of the planting treatment combinations. Noble fir and amabilis fir were the most reliable species in the Mountain Hemlock zone; i.e. these species have average survival rates higher than 80% and few form defects. Yellow cedar crowns were badly broken by snow, which reduced the reliability of this species in the early years of plantation establishment. The growth, survival and form of mountain hemlock ranked between that of the true firs and yellow cedar. Noble fir was by far the most productive species in the Mountain Hemlock zone. Within the Coastal Western Hemlock zone no single species demonstrated a superior combination of productivity or reliability. Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western redcedar were good species in the lower elevations of the zone, whereas noble fir and amabilis fir were better species at the upper elevational limits of the zone. Western white pine should be avoided until rust-resistant seed sources are available. Little variation was found among the three planting stock options and even less between the two planting seasons. Plug transplant stock was more reliable than bareroot or plug stock; productivity ranked from greatest to least in the following order within both zones: plug transplant, bareroot and plug stock. This ranking among stock types may well change as different stock types are developed. However, the relative size and design differences among stock types, no matter when they become available, will always have an effect on the ultimate reliability and productivity of planted trees. Fall planting gave significantly lower survival in the Coastal Western Hemlock zone only. The planting options recommended in this report for each of the zones should be used as guidelines. There were many significant interactions among all of the main treatments tested, which emphasizes the variability encountered in the montane forests and the need to make regeneration prescriptions on a site-specific basis. These results provide a unique database on the growth and relative field performance of eight tree species for the first 13 years after planting in high-elevation forests across a wide spectrum of site types. These data provide a benchmark against which the growth of regeneration from alternative silvicultural systems can be judged.