Comparison of growth parameters and breeding usefulness of one-year-old European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) seedlings
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Department of Ecology and Silviculture, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Faculty of Forestry, Polska
Jacek Grzegorz Banach   

Department of Ecology and Silviculture, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Faculty of Forestry, al. 29 Listopada 46, 31-425, Krakow, Polska
Submission date: 2021-02-19
Final revision date: 2021-03-30
Acceptance date: 2021-04-05
Publication date: 2021-12-30
Acta Silvestria 2020;LVII:47–59
The study compares various parameters of European beech seedlings grown in controlled conditions depending on their quality class. The research material was class I and II seedlings as well as classless seedlings, classified according to the criteria contained in the Polish standard PN-R-67025 (1999). The aim of the study was to show the differences between seedlings in individual classes, both for the growth traits and quality indicators determining their breeding usefulness. Each quality class was represented by 60 beech seedlings. Growth characteristics: height, length of the root system and the root collar diameter, were measured and the dry weight of the seedling was determined, divided into its parts, i.e. roots, shoots and leaves. The shoot and roots of each seedling was scanned (Epson Photo V800 scanner) and the resulting electronic images were analyzed in WinRhizo software (Regent Software Inc.). Using the measurement data, 3 synthetic indices were calculated to determine the seedling's cultivation suitability, i.e. sturdiness quotient – SQ, shoot-root ratio – S/R, and Dickson quality index – DQI. All growth parameters as well as the features of the root system and shoots significantly distinguished seedlings in the quality classes, except for the length of the root system (Tab. 1–2). The highest values of growth parameters and dry weight were found in the 1st quality class, and the lowest in classless seedlings. However, the breeding usefulness indicators did not confirm this rule. Although the Dickson quality index indicated that class I seedlings would be the most useful for planting on the forest plantation, no significant difference was obtained for the sturdiness quotient), and the best shoot-root ratio was found in classless seedlings (Tab. 3). The share of beech seedlings in individual quality classes that did not meet the criterion of the maximum value of the sturdiness quotient (SQ = 65) and the shoot-root ratio (S/R ≤ 2:1) did not differ significantly (Fig. 1–2). The value of the Dickson quality index, determining the adaptability of the nursery material, indicated that for some classless seedlings it turned out to be higher than the average value of the index for class II seedlings and some seedlings classified to quality class I (Fig. 3). The obtained results indicate that some classless seedlings may be suitable for planting in a forest plantation despite the failure to meet the minimum values of growth traits contained in the PN-R-67025 (1999) standard. Our research also suggests that in the assessment of the quality of planting material, as an element complementing the dimensional classification, we can include indicators of breeding suitability (SQ, S/R, DQI).