The impact of seedling morphology on survival and growth of loblolly pine plantations in the Georgia Piedmont
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The relationship between pine morphological seedling characteristics and survival and growth are examined to determine if they would be helpful in identifying threshold values below which seedling survival and growth would be negatively impacted. Shoot height, root collar diameter, number of lateral roots, and terminal bud condition were analyzed. Survival was found to increase as shoot height, root collar diameter, and number of lateral roots increased. This trend was more dramatic on sites with poor survival than on sites with good survival. In general, larger seedlings grew into larger trees, but usually only the smallest classes of seedlings had significantly less growth. To give the best chance of survival and growth, it is recommended that landowners plant seedlings with shoot heights of at least 6 inches, root collar diameters of 4.6 mm. or greater, and at least six lateral roots.