PRODUCTION OF RADIATA PINE CUTTINGS FOR PLANTATION FORESTRY IN NEW ZEALAND

M.I. Menzies, T. Faulds, M.J. Dibley
Control-pollinated radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) seed of the best progeny-tested families is now being commercially produced in New Zealand. However, since this seed is expensive and still in short supply, vegetative propagation methods have been developed to amplify available planting stock.

The nursery options available include both the use of juvenile stool beds to raise cutting material and field collections of cuttings from young plantation trees. Cuttings are generally set in outdoor raised beds for the production of bare-root plants. They are collected and set in early-mid winter (May-July). No rooting hormones are required. The rooted cuttings are ready for planting in winter (May-August), one year after setting.

Stool bed cuttings are more expensive to produce than seedlings, if the cost of seed is ignored, because of the cost of maintaining stool beds and manual collection and setting. Currently however, the high cost of control-pollinated seed makes stool-bed cuttings cheaper to produce than seedlings. The seed price would need to decrease by about 30% before seedlings become cheaper than cuttings.

Improvements in stem form have been demonstrated with cuttings compared with similar genetic quality seedlings, particularly with field-collected cuttings planted on fertile farm sites. This has created a demand for field-collected cuttings, even though they cost nearly double the price of stool bed cuttings. A potential area for further decreasing the cost of cuttings production would be automation of the collection and setting operations.

Menzies, M.I., Faulds, T. and Dibley, M.J. (1992). PRODUCTION OF RADIATA PINE CUTTINGS FOR PLANTATION FORESTRY IN NEW ZEALAND. Acta Hortic. 319, 359-364
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.319.55
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.319.55

Acta Horticulturae