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Doctoral thesis, 2015

Influence of Pre-emergence Cutting Characteristics on Early Willow Establishment

Edelfeldt, Stina


In willow cultivation, successful establishment is crucial for the development of a willow crop. The overall objective of this study was to assess the effects of pre-emergence cutting characteristics on the performance of willow during early establishment. In the experiments described in this thesis, cuttings of different size, position on the original rod, quality (i.e. planting damages and storage effects), orientation (i.e. vertical or horizontal planting), and clone were planted in the field or in boxes in an outdoor enclosure. Effects of weed competition and nitrogen fertilization were tested in a bucket experiment, and long-term effects of cutting characteristics on development and growth were evaluated in a field experiment harvested twice between 2008 and 2015. Cutting characteristics had a significant influence on the early establishment of willow. Cutting size had the most apparent influence, with performance generally increasing with increased size. There was a tendency for this effect to level off beyond a certain size. Cuttings sprouted earlier if derived from the apex, and the majority of the shoots on horizontally planted cuttings originated from the apical part. Cutting damage caused by storage or machine planting on compacted soil resulted in decreased performance and increased variation. Cuttings planted on compacted soil had higher probability of being damaged or landing on the soil surface instead of in the soil. Vertically planted cuttings were generally preferable to horizontally planted cuttings, especially when considering the amount of planting material needed. If planted horizontally, the depth should not exceed 5 cm. Weed competition resulted in a considerable decrease in performance if weeds sprouted before the willow had reached sufficient size. Nitrogen fertilization was likely to be of more use to the weeds than to the willow. In the long-term experiment, stool weight increased with cutting weight and early plant size at both harvests, indicating that the initial size hierarchy was maintained during the entire experiment. The performance responses in the experiments varied depending on clone.


Salix; willow; cutting characteristics; establishment; short rotation forestry; planting depth; planting orientation

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2015, number: 2015:57
ISBN: 978-91-576-8312-0, eISBN: 978-91-576-8313-7
Publisher: Department of Crop Production Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Edelfeldt, Stina
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

URI (permanent link to this page)