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Winter 1982/29

Containerized and Nursery Production

of Paulownia Tomentosa 1
Peter R. Beckjord
Ass't Professor of Forestry, Department of
Horticulture, University of Maryland, College Park

as a crop tree for wood prod- growing-cavity per seedling

ucts exportable to Japan (9). It (four cavities per book in a
Paulownia tomentosa
also has potential use in recla- Spencer-Lemaire Hillson con-
seedlings were grown in con-
mation of surface mines (1, 2). tainer).
tainers in a greenhouse for 110
These ecological and economic Seeds that had been stored 17
days and a nurserybed for 193
characteristics and the paucity days were sown onto the sur-
days. Paulownia growth was
of American literature concern- face of the growing medium on
slow during the first several
ing the silviculture of this spe- December 14, 1979, and water-
weeks of growth in both situa-
cies indicated the need to inves- misted frequently. The
tions. Later in the season,
tigate propagation techniques photoperiod was extended to
growth accelerated considera-
for containerization and nursery 2100 hours with incandescent
bly. Top and root growth was
production of Paulownia. lights. Containers were covered
checked when nursery seedlings
with transparent plastic wrap-
were root-pruned; however,
Materials and Methods ping to maintain high humidity.
roots were more fibrous than
Seeds germinated in 9 days and
non-root-pruned seedlings. De- Containerized production of
plastic wrap was removed 15
tailed procedures for seedling seedlings in a greenhouse. Pau-
days later. Seedlings were
production are presented. lownia tomentosa capsules were
thinned to two seedlings per
collected from a single tree
cavity (480 cavities) 30 days after
(about 15 years old) located on
sowing and then to one
Paulownia tomentosa the University of Maryland cam-
seedling per cavity 15 days later.
(Thunb.) Steud., of the Bignoni- pus on November 21, 1979. Cap-
In a separate planting of Pau-
aceae, is an Asian tree species sules were air dried for 6 days,
lownia with nonautoclaved
accidentally introduced in the and seeds were separated by
loam, damping-off was quick
Northeastern United States sieving and then stored in a
and severe (96 percent mortality
nearly 150 years ago (5). It has brown-stained glass jar at 3° C.
within a 7-day period 34 days af-
become naturalized in a scat- Ninety-five percent of the
ter germination). A precaution
tered distribution primarily stored seeds germinated within
was taken to safeguard all
throughout the southern and 6 days on moistened blotter pa-
seedlings from possible
central hardwood forest regions per in Petri dishes on a
damping-off with the applica-
(7). Paulownia grows remark- windowsill at room tempera-
tion of a 1:1 by volume fungi-
ably fast (comparable to hybrid ture.
cide mixture of 3 grams of
poplar). It is used as an orna- A loamy topsoil, pH = 5.1,
Terraclor and 3 grams of Dexon
mental, in shelterbelts (3), and was collected from under a ma-
to 8 liters of water. All 480
ture Paulownia and autoclaved
seedlings were drenched with
at 121° C for 2 hours. The
this mixture. Seedlings were
1This study was supported in part by growing medium consisted of
also drenched with 11 liters of
McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry 14:53 parts by volume moist
Research Funds. The author extends water containing 1.4 liters
loam and #3 vermiculite, 1 gram
his appreciation to Lori Graunke, 20-20-20 NPK stock solution of a
of 14-14-14 (NPK) 3- to 4-month
Graduate Research Assistant, and the soluble fertilizer.
slow-release Osmocote, and 28
Buckingham Forest Tree Nursery, Spencer-Lemaire books (with
Maryland Forest Service, Harmans, Md. milligrams of trace micronutri-
four seedlings per book) were
for their technical assistance. ent per 145-cubic-centimeter
30/Tree Planters’ Notes

separated 7 centimeters from centimeters apart. Seeds were

edge to edge on a greenhouse mulched with 2 to 4 millimeters
bench. Random samples of of composted sawdust and then
seedlings were collected for de- irrigated. The nursery soil
structive analyses 68, 94, and (pH = 6.3) was a sandy loam
110 days from the date of seed with 213, 383, and 225 kilograms
germination. per hectare of Mg, P205, and
K20, respectively. Weeding was Figure 1.—Containerized Paulownia
Nursery production of seedlings 32 days after planting seed
done frequently by hand. Dry
seedlings. Seeds were obtained (overhead view). Note secondary
fertilizer (1:2.mixture by weight
as they were for containerized leaves about 1 centimeter long.
of 10-10-10 NPK granular fertili-
production in a greenhouse,
zer to cotton seed meal) was
but stored at 3° C until April 5,
broadcast at .45 kilogram per
1980, when they were removed
block only once on June 27,
and placed on moist paper blot-
1980. Seedlings were thinned or
ters on a tray, which was cov-
transplanted (to vacant areas)
ered with a clear window glass.
within the beds to create a uni-
Trays were placed on green-
form density of seedlings on
house benches, exposed to day-
July 1, 1980, at a 15.2- by
light for 13 days, and then
15.2-centimeter spacing.
relocated under benches in
Subsamples of seedlings were
cooler shade conditions for an
removed 113, 127, 141, and 193
additional 4 days until nearly all
days after planting for destruc-
seeds had germinated.
tive analyses. Three blocks of
Sixty-one and a half linear me-
seedlings were irrigated and
ters of nurserybed previously
root-pruned on August 11, 1980,
used for white pine production
by a tractor-pulled lifting bar. Figure 2.-Containerized Paulownia
were rototilled twice, bedded-
seedlings 56 days after planting seed,
up, and grooved for planting.
Results and Discussion Note root growth about 12 centimeters
Eight planting blocks 7 meters long with numerous lateral roots.
long were delineated with Containerized production of
1.83-meter buffer spacings be- seedlings in a greenhouse. a length of the container (15 cm)
tween them. Young Paulownia seedlings are within 45 days (fig. 2) developed
Germinating seeds were subject to damping-off unless rapidly after germination.
mixed in a 30.75-liter solution of proper precautions are taken Seedling growth parameters
1.6-percent Laponite-508 (mag- (e.g., fungicide applications or were measured 68, 94, and 110
nesium silicate). The sterilizing growing media). days after seed germination (ta-
seed/solution was squeezed Young seedlings were small and ble 1). The data indicate Pau-
from plastic bottles through a appeared to be stagnating dur- lownia was in the log phase of
narrow opening into the ing the first 30 to 45 days of growth during the 68- to 110-day
grooves of the bed on April 22, growth (fig. 1). A taproot with period. Immel and others (6),
1980, at approximately 16 seeds an associated fibrous lateral Sanderson (8), and Downs and
per centimeter. Rows were 15.2 root system, which extended to Borthwick (4), provide more in-
Winter 1982/31

formation on the effects of hibiting seed germination.

photoperiods on Paulownia Laponite-508, which desiccated
growth. Seedlings were quite between irrigations and rains to
succulent and required crown a crystal-like crust, killed
space for good development., germ inating seeds. Increased ir-
Crowding encouraged spindli- rigation and/or more dilute so-
ness and defoliation of lower lutions of Laponite-508 may be
leaves. Overhead watering be- necessary. Young seedlings de-
came difficult because of the veloped slowly during the first
tight canopy of adjoining 45 to 60 days of growth (2 to 6
seedlings with large leaves. Fre- cm tall after 65 days) like the
quent waterings are necessary container-grown seedlings.
when using containers with re- Transplanting of young
stricted volume. Fallen leaves seedlings followed with imme-
over container openings hind- diate irrigation was successful at
ered irrigation. 71 days of growth. However, I
Nursery production of recommend that transplanting
seedlings. Sheet erosion by be done no later than this age
wind and rain rem oved and dis - or when seedlings are not more Figure 3.—Roots of nursery-grown,
placed seeds and sawdust than 4 centimeters tall, which- root-pruned Paulownia. Seedlings 193
mulch. Mulch accumulated on ever occurs first. days old, root-pruned at 112 days of
the sticky surface of the Root-pruning after 112 days of age.
Laponite-508 solution, thus in- growth reduced top growth and

Table 1 .—Means and standard deviations of several growth varia -
bles for containerized, greenhouse-grown Paulownia tomentosa
seedlings 68, 94, and 110 days after s e e d germination

Growth variables 68 days old 94 days old 110 days old

Height (cm) 7.9 (8.5 ) 17.6 (2.86) 22.2 (3.5 )
Diameter (mm) 2.99 ( .26) 3.98 ( .53) 4.96 ( .42)
Fresh weight stems (g) .68 ( .15) 2.83 (1.77) 2.89 ( .52)
Fresh weight leaves (g) 2.82 ( .82) 6.96 (1.98) 9.02 (1.43)
Fresh weight roots (g) 1.86 ( .58) 6.54 (1.88) 8.50 (2.91)
Fresh weight total plant (g) 5.39 (1.57) 16.83 (4.31) 20.59 (3.62)
Fresh weight root volume (ml) 2.83 ( .71) 5.46 (2.56) 8.52 (2.64)
Dry weight stems (g) .07 ( .02) .32 ( .06) .66 ( .13)
Dry weight leaves (g) .38 ( .13) 1.13 ( .38) 1.89 ( .48)
Dry weight roots (g) .15 ( .04) .48 ( .19) 1.24 ( .50)
Dry weight total plant (g) .78 ( .55) 1.94 ( .64) 3.81 ( .77)
Root/shoot fresh .53 .67 .71
Root/shoot dry .33 .33 .49
Figure 4.—Roots of nursery-grown,
Number per sample 15 10 10 non-root-pruned Paulownia seedl ings
1 Standard deviation in parentheses. 193 days old.
32/Tree Planters’ Notes

stimulated development of a fi- Seedling growth accelerated treatments during the season
brous root system. Figures 3 during the 35-day period be- (table 2 and fig. 5). Non-root-
and 4 illustrate the difference in tween 106 and 141 days of pruned seedlings averaged ap-
root system fibrousness be- growth (about 8.4 times) for proximately 1 meter in height
tween root and non-root- non-root-pruned seedlings with a stem diameter of 1.5 cen-
pruned seedlings. Seedlings ap- whereas one root-pruned treat- timeters (10 cm from the root
proximately 60 centimeters had ment (on day 105) checked both collar). The taproot penetrated
tops bent, broken, and dam - top and root growth allowing the soil to a maximum depth of
aged by the low clearance of less seedling growth (3 times for 50 centimeters. Leaf drop
machinery. Bent seedlings were the same 35-day period. Growth occurred late in the fall and
S shaped and retained that was quite variable among the dieback of the terminal shoot
shape throughout the season. seedlings within root-pruning occurred with freezing temper-

Table 2.—Me a n s a n d standard deviations of several growth variables for nursery grown Paulownia
tomentosa seedlings during the growing season

Number of days after planting germinating seed in nurserybed

Growth 141 193

variable 71 78 85 92 106 113 127 141 (Root-pruned) 2 193 (Root-pruned)

Top dry —4 — — 2.15 5.17 4.52 11.82 35.47 11.70 39.11 12.52
weight (g)3 (3.73) (8.98) (6.74) (13.41) (15.82) (10.01) (28.74) (5.59)

Root dry — — — .29 1.05 .84 2.81 9.39 4.90 30.11 18.07
weight (g) ( .61) (2.19) (1.08) (3.26) (6.11) (4.24) (22.70) (6.10)

Total dry .1 .45 .58 2.44 6.23 5.37 14.63 44.86 16.61 69.41 30.60
weight (g) (.13) (.64) (1.30) (4.35) (11.17) (7.81) (16.65) (20.26) (14.16) (50.95) (11.30)

Number per 32 15 50 39 22 16 20 10 18 16 14

July July July July Aug. Aug. Aug. Sept. Sept. Nov. Nov.
1 8 15 22 5 12 26 9 9 1 1
1 Standard deviation in parentheses.
2 Root -pruned on August 11.
3 Top dry weight = stem plus leaves for all periods except 193d day, which is for stem only.
4_ =not available.
Winter 1982/33

Figure 5.—Nursery-grown Paulownias 141 days old. Root-pruned seedlings (left)

and non-root-pruned seedlings (right).

Literature Cited foresters. J. For. 79: 71-79; 1981. American Paulownia Corp., Box 554,
4. Downs, R. J.; Borthwick, H. A. Ef - 1221 A. Superior Ave., Sheboygan,
1. Carpenter, S. B. This "princess" fects of photoperiod on the growth WI.
heals disturbed land. Amer. For. 83: of trees. Bot. Gaz. 117: 310-326; 8. Sanderson, K. D. Effect of
22-23; 1977. 1956 photoperiod on the growth of em-
2. Carpenter, S. B.; Graves, D. H. Pau- 5. Hu, S. Y. A monograph of the genus press tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
lownia: A valuable new timber re- Paulownia. Quart. J. of Taiwan seedlings. Ala. Agric. Expt. Sta.
source. Lexington, KY: University of Museum. 12(1-2): 1-53; 1959. Hort. Ser. 18: 10-11; 1972.
Kentucky, College of Agriculture, 6. Immel, M. J.; Tackett, E. M.; Car- 9. Tang, R. C.; Carpenter, S. B.;
Cooperative Extension Service; penter, S. B. Paulownia seedlings Wittwer, R. F.; Graves, D. H.
1979; FOR 11. 7 p. respond to increased daylength. Paulownia-A crop tree for wood
3. Dickerman, M. P.; Duncan, D. P.; Tree Plant. Notes 31(1): 3-5; 1980. products and reclamation of
Gallegor, C. M.; Clark, F. B. Forest- 7. Larson, R. O. The Paulownia tree. surface-mined land. So J. of App.
ry today in China, report of a Sheboygan, WI: American Paulow - For. 4: 19-24; 1980.
month's tour by a team of American nia Corp.; 1981. 3p. Available from