Survival and growth of planted stock can be improved by grading the seedlings just after lifting from the nursery beds. Seedlings that are relatively small, topheavy, oversized, damaged, diseased, or insect-infested are discarded (37). Culling after lifting from transplant beds is usually 1 to 3 percent, compared to 5 to 20 percent from seedling beds. Eastern redcedar seedlings should have a stem diameter of at least 4.0 mm (0.16 in), but preferably 5.6 mm (0.22 in), at the ground line. It is also desirable for seedlings to have top green weights that are no more than 3 to 4 times heavier than the roots (26,36). Seedlings having higher top-to-root ratios are more likely to die under environmental stress.
Survival of eastern redcedar plantations has been variable, with low survival being attributed to poor seedling quality, low site quality, and competition. If these factors are considered carefully, however, eastern redcedar plantations can be successfully established. One early plantation established from hand-pulled wildlings had 84 percent survival. In a Nebraska plantation, established with 2-0 seedlings from 204 sources of eastern redcedar and Rocky Mountain juniper, first-year survival averaged 95.1 percent. Four other plantations from these sources averaged more than 85 percent survival, although one in Oklahoma had only 19.7 percent (11,38).
Most natural eastern redcedar regeneration takes place on relatively poor hardwood or pine sites, along fence rows, or in pastures that are not burned or mowed. Seedlings are commonly established in rather open hardwood stands, adjacent to older seed-bearing eastern redcedar trees, as a result of birds eating the fruit and subsequent deposition of seeds (34). On very dry sites, most seedlings are found in crevices, between layers of limestone, and in other protected places where the microclimate is most favorable. Seedling development is relatively slow on these adverse sites, although eastern redcedar seedlings withstand drought rather well (4,22). First-year seedlings do not produce much height growth but develop a long fibrous root system (15). Plantings from 2-0 stock showed good growth in some areas, however, exceeding 45 cm (17.8 in) in height after one growing season (38). If competition from an overstory is rather severe, eastern redcedar seedlings may not survive. Once established, however, eastern redcedar survives for extended periods under severe competition (15,28). Eastern redcedar also competes very well in shelterbelts, where it is the most common natural reproduction (43).
- Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods. Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
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