Field trials with Abies lasiocarpa progenies from plus trees and seed orchard clones for Christmas tree production in Norway.
The Christmas tree industry in Norway is increasing and Abies lasiocarpa is, together with Abies nordmanniana, the most common exotic species for Christmas tree production. A. lasiocarpa today constitutes ca. 50% of the fir sold in Norway, and there is high demand for sufficient supply of high-quality seed and knowledge of seed sources with a potential for high Christmas tree quality. Two experimental plots were established to identify seed sources with potentially high survival and satisfactory Christmas tree quality. The high variation in traits on the two sites indicates promising possibilities for further selection of A. lasiocarpa clones for growing Christmas trees in Norway. Selection for late bud break to avoid spring frost is important. Pathogens were not found in any of the studied trials, but are an important factor to consider when selecting seed sources for Christmas trees. Due to the early bud break of this species, it is also of high importance to choose planting sites with minimal risks for spring frost. Good localities are slopes where the frost drains away during cold nights. In eastern Norway, A. lasiocarpa should be used with care in districts and sites where spring frost is commonly occurring.