Effect of acorn size on development of northern red oak 1-0 seedlings
The effect of acorn size on seedling development was determined for 20 northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) mother tree selections from the USDA Forest Service's Eastern Tennessee Watauga seed orchard. Acorns from each mother tree were visually separated into three size groups, weighed, and sown separately in forest nurseries located in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Seedling height, root collar diameter, and survival within sibling seedlots were significantly related to acorn mass. The three sizes of acorns showed the same trends in seedling development among the four nurseries. Heritability (h2 ) estimates for the variables were uniformly high among all acorn sizes. A wide range in sibling seedling quality occurred within each acorn size class regardless of nursery location. This suggests that while sizing of acorns into several categories may result in more uniform germination within a seedbed, it will not result in uniform seedling development even when using sibling seedlots and acorns of uniform size.