Cloning Trees

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I was browsing through the Lee Valley gardening site (again) recently and came across the Rooter Pot. [http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.asp?pageF938&category=2%2C47236&SID=&ccurrency=2] This system is a much simplified and easier propagation system called "air layering". Basically it allows you to make clones of existing plants, shrubs and trees and allows you to obtain in 8 weeks a duplicate that would take 3 years from seed or a cutting.
This sounds like a very cool thing to do, and has me wondering - what trees would be the best candidates for cloning? Are you best off wandering the woods until you find a "perfect" specimen?...or do environmental factors play such a large role that merely eyeballing a tree won't really tell you much? I figure if I'm (someday, maybe) going to clone some trees, I might as well clone the *best*.
Anyone done this? Any good sources of info?
JP ***************** Also, is it poor form to use "long" links, like above? Or is it worse form to use a tinyurl that disguises the ultimate destination?
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Jay Pique wrote:

[http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.asp?pageF938&category=2%2C47236&SID=&ccurrency=2]
When I was a kid (teenager) we had an old Rubber plant, (you know the big dark green leaves that people often use for house plants) that got too big for the living room so it was relagated to the greenhouse. Someone had taught me how to "air layer" and I must have "cloned" at least 25 or thirty new plants from that old thing over a period of 3 or 4 years. They made great "house gifts" and the neighbors and friends thought they were great! It also kept me from doing something silly on Saturday afternoons. It's a good project for kids.
Big John
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wrote:

I would think that you would want to find the biggest and oldest tree you could, not necessarily looking for good appearance, since that tends to be a factor of environment. A tree that has survived a couple of hundred years of bugs, drought, fire and what have you is likely to have pretty sound genetics.

It is actually nice if you do both.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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You have a good point about tree survival. However, I am not convinced the method for selecting for survival is independent of timber quality.
In my locale, we have white pine for example. Some trees go straight up for three logs before the main trunk branches. Others go one log or less before splitting. In the old day's, it is easy to imagine that the split trunk ones were left in favor of cutting the good straight ones. Today, the majority of white pine I see have split trunks below the second log.
If you think about it, there are few environmental factors that will consistently cause 10 to 20 foot pine trees to send up split tops in every generation.
It is my opinion that the split trunk trait is a genetic variation. The logging process has gone on now for more than one generation of trees (300+ years). I am forced to conclude that we have been slowly selecting our forests for poorer quality timber.
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Ideally you would be able to get the best of both worlds - long lasting as well as straight and large growth. I agree with your theory about us culling the strong and leaving the weak though. I've got to figure that tree farmers have studied this pretty heavily...maybe I'll do a more detailed google search to see what I can find.
JP
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Did you try the search?
They tell me it's an insect. So much for doomsday selection scenarios.
http://fhpr8.srs.fs.fed.us/idotis/insects/wpnweev.html

every
(300+
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I didn't write what's below, but I think I agree with the theory.
JP

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It's a possibility, but I wouldn't discount the fact that split tops are a liability for longevity. Once we logged out all the old growth that had survived (age naturally culling the split tops when they were several hundred years younger), we started seeing the normal propensity toward split tops. Let a stand of white pine grow for 300-500 years and let me know how many of the survivors have split tops.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Tim Douglass wrote:

>[http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.asp?pageF938&category=2%2C47236&SID=&ccurrency=2]
Not to be too critical but so far this thread is like a bunch of guys stomping around in the woods with muzzle loaders wondering about the latest designs in log houses. Hopefully they will finally find a road and be amazed at saw wood and plywood construction of houses. People have been "cloning" plants for a long time but the usual term is "vegetative propagation" and it's pretty common. Tree farming has also been around for a while and they pretty much know what they are doing, at least with conifers in the west. (That's not a hit on any other part of the country as tree farms are pretty extensive in the south) You might just want to check some of the info available from your state department of forestry or the U.S. Forest Service.
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On Mon, 09 Aug 2004 05:12:22 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"
......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
And the non-critical part is?
I found it interesting and learnt some stuff. If tree cloning was so boring, then there would not be so many sites on the web about it, teaching people who do not work for tree farms.

***************************************************** It's not the milk and honey we hate. It's having it rammed down our throats.
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wrote:

Heh - I've done that in South Carolina toting around a .270 before. Damn near shot myself right out of the treestand. Scope-eye, the whole deal. I remember thinking "damn, how'd that deer blood get all the way up here?!"

Yeah, it's pretty big in parts of South Carolina. I'm assuming they do it with hardwoods as well. I know that "lyptus" is plantation raised. I guess I've just never seen an oak farm or something like that.

Will do.
JP
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Interesting header, "proposed a theory" Hardly. There isn't any non critical part. "Too" is an adverb and "not too" means not to intense. Glad you found it interesting, but no one said it was boring, just fairly common knowledge, speaking as a botanist. By the way, most horticulturist and botanists of all stripes are not employed by tree farms.
Old Nick wrote:

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So what gives - should I pick the oldest tree, or the straightest? Apparently you're the only fish in this otherwise unstocked pond!
JP

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Jay Pique wrote:

The straightest.
A "cloned" tree's cells are as biologically "old" as its parent. Clones from an older tree will go into decline sooner.
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That can't be true for plants (at least not in its generality). There are many plants that are not fertile, and can only be propagated by taking cuttings (=cloning). Yet the "progeny" lives far longer than the original plant ever did or could. Sorry that I can't give an example, just go to any respectable nursery/tree grower.
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Well, think about it.
The cells involved in plant budding and growth are the equivalent of stem cells. Differentiation comes later, as does the plant equivalent of programmed cell death - creating heartwood or bark.

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Han wrote:

Try the banana. Ever bite into one of those seeds?
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I don't think that's as true for plants as it is for animals. Some plants will revert to juvenile type ofter air layering, or after severe pruning. For example, some rhodies will not flower from old wood, but if pruned almost to a stump, the new growth will flower like crazy.
But what do I know, my oldest air layer is only about 10 years old.
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Some humans (myself included) will revert to juvenile type on occasion, as well.
G
Jean Darc wrote:

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<cue sound of confusion setting in>
JP ****************** BRING ME THE AXE!!!
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