Use of belowground growing degree days to predict rooting of dormant hardwood cuttings of Populus

R. S. Zalesny, E. O. Bauer, D. E. Riemenschneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Planting Populus cuttings based on calendar days neglects soil temperature extremes and does not promote rooting based on specific genotypes. Our objectives were to: 1) test the biological efficacy of a thermal index based on belowground growing degree days (GDD) across the growing period, 2) test for interactions between belowground GDD and clones, and 3) identify beneficial planting windows based on combinations of genotypes and belowground GDD. We tested two clones of Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh (D133, D134) and four hybrid clones of P. deltoides x P. maximowiczii A. Henry (DM101, DM105, NC14105, NC14107). Cuttings, 20 cm long, were planted in randomized complete blocks at 15- x 15-cm spacing across three planting dates during 1999 at Alexandria, Minnesota, USA (45.9°N, 95.4°W) and Fertile, Minnesota, USA (47.3°N, 96.2°W). Temperatures at 20 cm belowground were converted to GDD with a base temperature of 10°C. We measured root, top, and total dry weight, along with number of roots after 14 d of growth. Relatively warmer and cooler soil temperatures promoted rooting for the cottonwoods and hybrids, respectively. We recommend planting after reaching a threshold of 163 belowground GDD for P. deltoides clones and planting before reaching a threshold of 173 belowground GDD for P. deltoides x P. maximowiczii clones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalSilvae Genetica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Genotype x environment interaction
  • Hybrid poplar
  • P. maximowiczii
  • Populus deltoides
  • Soil temperature


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