DougBidlack wrote:Does 88' in 10 years seem reasonable to everyone else? I think I can count at least 15 whorls on one of the pines and I can't see the top. Is this species able to produce two or more whorls per year?
'Forests: A Naturalist's Guide to Woodland Trees' by Laurence C. Walker. Says they can:
A tree of such high commercial value "down under," though of little use for lumber or paper at home, is bound to have its genes thoroughly scrutinized. Differences among racial strains include growth rates, immunity to insect and disease attack, physical properties of the wood, and the time at which trees flower. Less dramatic differences now know between races, indicating the enthusiasm of the chromosome sleuth to know this species, include branching habits (do twigs turn up or down?), number of whorls (are there one, two, three, or four flushes of height growth each year?) and individual dominance (in an even-aged stand , do some stems stand head and shoulders above their neighbors?)
Intriguingly, this source says they can grow all year round in the best climates, and lack annual rings (3rd paragraph):
Conifers of California, by Ronald M. Lanner:
One day in 1955, Ib Thulin, a transplanted Danish Forester employed by the New Zealand Forest Research Institute, came out of a 24-year-old test Plantation of Monterey pines in a state of high excitement. Moments earlier he had found a Gulliver among dwarfs, a tree later known as “Super 80055” that far exceeded in size all of its relatively spindly neighbors. Where most of them were slender poles less than six inches in diameter and 60 feet tall, 80055 had a massive trunk more than two feet thick and a terminal shoot that projected 135 feet into the filtered New Zealand sunlight. Because of its youth, it eclipsed even a locally famous Monterey pine growing near Nelson on the South Island, a tree measured three feet thick and 190 feet tall at 65 years. Clearly, these were tree that could make New Zealand a powerhouse of timber production. Within a few years New Zealand’s ongoing pine breeding program had focused on 80055, and by the 1990’s its genes had been incorporated into nearly every Monterey pine seed orchard in New Zealand and Australia.
By now, the story of Monterey pine’s domestication is well known. A coastal tree usually contorted where exposed to steady onshore winds, or lanky, limby, and crooked when sheltered behind higher ground, Monterey pine has become the world’s most planted conifer species. Native groves of Monterey pine are restricted to three small locales on the California coast and two offshore islands, totaling no more than 11,000 acres of forest. But worldwide, Monterey pine plantations now surpass 10 million acres, and they continue to expand every year. Chile’s paper industry depends on this California import. Over two million Australian acres are devoted to it. New Zealand boasts three million acres of Monterey pine, which contributed one billion dollars to that country’s economy in 1992. South Africa, Kenya, Spain, Argentina, and Uruguay all manage significant acreage of Monterey pine, which is usually known in the timber industry as “radiata pine.”
Monterey pine’s rapid growth and excellent pulping and limber qualities assure its future throughout the world’s subtropics, where softwood requirements cannot be filled by native species. In many wet, tropical areas Monterey pine is notable for its ability to grow year-round. If temperatures remain mild, and there are no seasonal droughts, this pine can depart from the strict seasonality of growth in a Mediterranean climate and form wood that lacks annual rings while putting up totally branchless leaders 20 feet tall.
Despite its restricted natural range Monterey pine has a wealth of genetic variability in traits related to growth rate and other economically important characteristics; such genetic diversity is the first requirement for a selective breeding program. It is easily control-pollinated and readily cloned by growing plantlets from tissue cultures, making it possible to propagate, almost indefinitely, highly desirable genotypes. These attributes of Monterey pine have allowed its domestication--breeding and propagation of genotypes that provide for human needs---to proceed briskly. Molecular methods of genetic engineering promise further long strides in the near. future.
Monterey pine was widely distributed along the California coast during Pleistocene times, but since then its native range has shrunk into just a few fragments. These are in the Año Nuevo-Swanton area, the larger Monterey-Carmel area, 30 miles to the south, and the Pico Creek-Cambria groves 65 miles farther south. All of these localities have cool, foggy climate. Near Swanton, Monterey pine hybridizes sparingly with knobcone pines, producing trees that grow almost as rapidly as the Monterey parent and that are nearly as frost-hardy as the knobcone parent.