Breeding Seedling Orchards

Breeding Seedling Orchards

Four breeding seedling orchards (BSOs) were planted in Britain in 1993. The orchards have been measured for growth and vigour several times. Final measurements will be recorded in 2008 when we will determine the very best trees for the seed orchard. The poorer performers will then be removed leaving the best individuals to produce seed by breeding with each other. Under the forest reproductive material regulations, these orchards will be registered as tested – the highest category of material available for forest practices.

Four breeding seedling orchards (BSOs) were planted in England in 1993. These are located at Little Wittenham, Whitby (Yorkshire) Hungerford (Berkshire) and Huntley (Gloucestershire) and are comprised of 36 half sib families (known mother, unknown father) from across Britain. The orchards have been measured several times for form, apical dominance and growth (height and diameter) and are in the process of being rogued for seed production. Family performance is accessed at each trial site, and we look for those familes that perform best at each site. Poorest performing families across all sites are completely rogued from all orchards, while other familes that perform well at some sites and less well at others are rouged on a site by site basis. This maximises the genetic gain at each site.

A first seed harvest will be undertaken in 2011, and trees available from 2013 and will carry the FTT brand, and give levels of improvement that can be expected.