Case Study: OP vs. Varietals: A direct comparison in southeast Virginia
Forester Bob Ordnung with Michael D. Neal & Associates, Ahoskie, North Carolina, had the foresight to create an exceptional comparison in Isle of Wight County, Virginia using SuperTree Seedlings® Varietal AGV 124 planted adjacent to a conventional OP/2.0 Generation Atlantic Coastal Plain Family.
- Plot Dimensions: 226’ x 132’
- AGV 124 Containers Stock and OP 91039 Bareroot Stock were planted by Bob Ordnung in Isle of Wight County in Southeast Virginia on the same day in the 2008/2009 planting season immediately followed by injecting the rooting zone of each seedling with PTM™ from BASF.
Identical Site Prep
Bob left nothing to chance: he employed the same site preparation for all seedling options including bedding and chemical site preparation to give all trees the same chances for optimal survival and early growth. Then he went a step further. The Nantucket Pine Tipmoth is known to be prevalent in this area of southeast Virginia, in many cases inhibiting new growth for the first two years of a tree’s life. So Bob used BASF’s PTM™ insecticide, with the intent of eliminating as many environmental factors as possible the first two years of growth to better understand true genetic performance.
Age Five Assessment
In April 2014, Bob Ordnung and Jason Watson of ArborGen, took measurements of three rows of AGV 124 and two rows of OP 91039 trees to assess:
- Diameter at Breast Height (DBH)
- Total Height
- Sawtimber Potential (STP): Presence of any defects that would disqualify a stem from STP, such as fork below 17’, Fusiform Rust, etc.
Results: Seeing is Believing
The AGV 124 Varietals results at this five-year mark are nothing short of amazing.
- Average height of AGV: 24′
- Diameter at Breast Height (DBH): 34% gain over OP
- Volume gain per tree: 131% gain over OP
- Volume per acre: 215% gain over OP
- 96% of AGV stems have sawtimber potential (STP)
At five years of age, you already have a snapshot of the first log and how many of the stems have the potential for poles and sawtimber with the outstanding form displayed by the AGV 124.
Reforestation with Varietals offers the highest genetic gain to forest landowners. There are now more than 100,000 acres planted across the Southeastern United States, with many success stories just like this stand in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Whether for fiber, sawtimber or pole production, Varietals offer the maximum growth and tree quality benefits currently available for planting.