Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

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Rand
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by Rand » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:47 pm

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?

Doug
'Forests: A Naturalist's Guide to Woodland Trees' by Laurence C. Walker. Says they can:
p. 115

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.

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Rand
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by Rand » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:32 pm

Erik Danielsen wrote:I wonder if this relates in any way to the findings related to certain european conifers growing more successfully in unfamiliar soil as they found the inhabiting fungal communities more hospitable- perhaps in Monterey Pine's very limited native range there's a fungus or other organism common to the soil communities that severely limits its growth potential. Maybe that's how its range got so limited in the first place- a successful and widespread species until the wrong organism developed and crippled its ability to compete.

Of course, selective breeding and other human efforts have been kind to cultivated monterey pines as well.
'Forests: A Naturalist's Guide to Woodland Trees' by Laurence C. Walker has this to say about it:

Found in nature at several isolated locales along the California coast and on Guadalupe Island off Mexico's Pacific coast, most Pinus radiata stands in North America are but a few thousand acres. Only one exceeds 8,000 acres. Efforts to extend the limited range adjacent to the existing stands have been only partially successful. Yet seeds carried to Australia and New Zealand more than a hundred years ago by the pioneers of the land "down under" were successfully planted. And from those seeds extensive forests developed. A century later North American industrialists, observing the notable growth in those vast plantations, directed company foresters to again try to produce this warm-winter tree beyond its original territory. If it could be used for lumber and pulpwood--and fresh fruit baskets--in Australia, why not so in the USA?

Efforts in Florida-where thousands of acres were planted by the administrative edict of well-travelled and observant industrial chiefs--as well in lands far beyond its natural range in California failed, but the species was found hardy in the rainforest climate of the Puget Sound locale. Yet the growth of trees in the island continent continued to gain worldwide attention. Introductions in Chile and Uruguay in South America, in South Africa, and in Spain also have been productive. Some South American plantings have failed, poor drainage and high water seemingly the cause.

The unique southern Pacific situation, at first note, could logically be attributed to the absence of natural “predators” where the species has been introduced. There, insects and disease-causing fungi are not likely to have appetites for P. radiata. But this, on further study, appears not to be the case. For it is the climate among the factors of site that is most responsible for controlling the natural range. Why then, when removed from its normal locale and with the immigration of microbes and insects to attack the trees, should stand establishment and growth still be good?

Climate Preference:

At Home, Monterey pine grows on coastal and island forests, from sea level to thousand foot elevations, where average rainfall for any particular locale ranges from 15 to 35 inches a year. While the mean is more than 30 inches, minimum and maximum precipitation within the zone amount to 5 and 50 inches. In this relatively maritime climate of high humidity, summer fogs prevail and winters are mild. The most adverse climatic factors are abnormal summer rains (that favor disease causing fungi), frost, hail and wind.

[…]

Because there are no pines native to Australia, and because members of the family Pinaceae require mycorrhizal fungi for survival, a real stumbling block to success could have occurred in Monterey pine introductions there…

...The Australian-New Zealand situation was different. Mycorrhizae were found even on sterilized seed. In fact, spores of some fungi have been collected at altitudes of 30,000 feet and brought to earth to germinate. How, then had they earlier found their way to the South Pacific isles, like those hearty souls who went to the remote Outback? Even without the pines for a symbiotic relationship, they were present when the Aussie pioneers migration from the Monterey peninsula carried the pines to the land.

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Don
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by Don » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:23 pm

Doug-
I think most pines do add one whorl per year, although I did find that "...in rare cases, however, Bishop pines may grow two whorls per year creating an overestimate of age by at most one or two years" according to
REGENERATION OF BISHOP PINE (PINUS MURICATA) IN THE ABSENCE
AND PRESENCE OF FIRE: A CASE STUDY FROM
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, CALIFORNIA
Hartmut S. Walter and Leila A. Taha
in
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/geog/downloads/969/113.pdf

and

another account of Pinus radiata, that they "...grow really fast when young. Most pines only put out one whorl of branches per year and this one can put out several" according to:
TREES OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY by
Peter Shaw
in
http://treesofsantacruzcounty.blogspot. ... -pine.html

Recalling that Monterey pines hybridize with Bishop pine and knob-cone pine, I'd suspect that knob-cone pines also add the occasionally whorl.
Not quite money in the bank, but one whorl per year on average is good a "rule of thumb"...
-Don
PS:Even so, eight foot of growth per year seems extraordinary when 12-16" is seen as commonplace!
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?

Doug
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DougBidlack
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by DougBidlack » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:53 pm

Rand and Don,

wow! That's great and amazing info. I had no idea temperate trees could grow so fast in such a short period of time or that any pines could have two or more whorls per year.

Doug

fooman
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by fooman » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:41 pm

PAwildernessadvocate wrote:During an extended trip to New Zealand 16+ years ago I purchased a book titled "The Natural World of New Zealand: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of New Zealand's Natural Heritage," by Gerald Hutching...
The included photograph is some of the Kinleith Forest plantings. The peak in the background is Pohaturoa, a volcanic dome on the banks of the Waikato River, near the Atiamuri Dam. The trees on Pohaturoa have been harvested, and will not be re-planted, as the peak has historical significance as a Maori fortification. Only 2 or 3 miles away is the Owen Road permanent sample plot, where Tree 73 was (and maybe still is) the tallest P. radiata ever measured, at 64.2 m / 210 ft in the early 1980's at around 55 years age. The tree was still extant in the mid-1990's but there is no current record of it.

The below graph is from a review of plantation forest in NZ and shows the measured average tree height (MTH) in m, versus plantation age for the permanent sample plots of the species scattered over the country.
P. radiata growth in NZ
P. radiata growth in NZ
The first trees of the species were planted in NZ around the 1860's and were found to have such good growth that the vast plantations of the 1920's were mostly P. radiata. There are a couple of massive specimen trees around Geraldine in the South Island, both planted around 1859. One tree at Mt Peel Station, said to be the first planting in NZ, is 148 ft tall and 33 ft cbh (influenced by low branching), and can be seen at http://register.notabletrees.org.nz/tree/view/1312. Nearby on the outskirts of Geraldine is the Grey Pine ( http://register.notabletrees.org.nz/tree/view/1008 ), at 156 ft tall, and 29 ft in girth, with better form than the Mt Peel Tree.
The Grey Pine at Geraldine
The Grey Pine at Geraldine
Closeup of Grey Pine
Closeup of Grey Pine
Cheers,
Matt

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Rand
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by Rand » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:26 pm

fooman wrote:The first trees of the species were planted in NZ around the 1860's and were found to have such good growth that the vast plantations of the 1920's were mostly P. radiata. There are a couple of massive specimen trees around Geraldine in the South Island, both planted around 1859.
I guess I'm rather puzzled how the seeds of a relatively obscure and unremarkable tree happened to be taken half way around the world to start with. The mid 1800's seems kind of early for any exploratory forestry work. I wonder what the real motivation/story of the first plantings were. I mean there are literally a dozen scruffy pine and cypress species to choose from in California. How'd that one get picked in light of all the other big, charismatic species in the Pacific Northwest to choose from?

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Bart Bouricius
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by Bart Bouricius » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:44 pm

Doug,

We do have tropical angiosperms, that at least for the first 5 years, grow faster than this, but I am quite skeptical of some things in this particular Wikipedia article because of no citation of a source for the claim that the trees can only get 98' in the wild, but 200' in some plantations. That is not a trivial difference. What was the measurement technique and who did the measuring? Where was the site for the plantation grown 200' tree?

fooman
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by fooman » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:59 pm

Hi Rand,

I think a lot of the earlier plantings were for novelty or botanical collections. Quite a few of the large specimens of exotic (non-native) trees we have in NZ are in formal gardens or collections, e.g. the Mt Peel Pine is just one of a number of conifer specimens adjacent the old homestead. Nearby is a Douglas fir, again planted around 1859, measured at 69.6 m / 228 ft by BVP in 2013. When seeds became plentiful, it was found both Monterey Pine and Monterey Cypress (C. macrocarpa) grew quickly, and they were used as shelter-belts for livestock on the farms being developed by the European settlers.

A few decades after the original plantings, some research was done from the late 1800's and the early 1900's on trees for plantation forestry. The famous redwood grove at Whakarewarea in Rotorua (with trees up to 71.5 m /235 ft tall at around 110 years age) is one example of a research plot, planted in the early 1900's.

The results were that P. radiata gave the best yield, followed by Douglas fir. The large scale plantings of the 1920's were undertaken as a depression-era work scheme, especially on the "unproductive" scrubby pumice soils of the central North Island, that formed the then largest plantation forests in the world (e.g. Kaingaroa Forest). Most were in P. radiata, some in Douglas fir.

Cheers,
Matt

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Lucas
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Re: Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine

Post by Lucas » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:02 pm


Click on image to see its original size

The rest of the caption is cut off but it says "as the coastal "Signal" tree." No explanation if that means a marker for ships.

This pic was next to the first pic posted. I thought that is a nice tree but didn't notice the man at the bottom until later. He is 6 mm so 150 mm on the tree would make it around 150 feet. I was surprised since I was under the impression that Monterey pine was small in CA.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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