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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Effects of Cutting Length, Orientation and Planting Depth on Early Willow Shoot Establishment

Edelfeldt, Stina; Lundkvist, Anneli; Forkman, Johannes; Verwijst, Theo


To assess the effects of different planting systems on early performance (survival, shoot emergence time, number of shoots, maximum shoot height and biomass shoot production) of willow, cuttings of varying lengths were planted horizontally at different depths and compared with vertically planted cuttings. Cutting lengths of (i) 25-200 cm and (ii) 7-21 cm were studied in a field experiment and in a box experiment, respectively. Shorter cuttings planted deeper had a lower survival rate and emerged a few days later compared to longer cuttings planted shallower. The performance was considerably higher at the apical part of the cuttings, regardless of cutting length. Longer cuttings planted shallow had a higher performance. Vertically planted cuttings produced more biomass and shoots per length unit than horizontally planted cuttings. We conclude that planting systems based on the use of longer horizontally planted cuttings would probably lead to an uneven establishment and gaps in the stand caused by apical dominance. Also, to achieve the same performance, the need of planting material would be considerably higher compared to systems with vertically planted cuttings. To obtain a fast and more even early establishment of willows, we recommend the use of vertically planted cuttings with a length of at least 20 cm. If cuttings are planted horizontally, they should not be planted deeper than 5 cm.


Billets; Horizontal planting; Lay-flat; Salix; Short rotation coppice; Vertical planting

Published in

BioEnergy Research
2015, Volume: 8, number: 2, pages: 796-806
Publisher: SPRINGER