Alternative pine hybrids and species to Pinus patula and P. radiata in South Africa and Swaziland
Through the collaborative efforts of companies affiliated with the International Program for Tree Improvement and Conservation (Camcore), a number of pine hybrids have been produced over the last decade. Many of these have been planted in trials across southern Africa that broadly represent winter and summer rainfall areas, with the latter ranging from warm to cold temperate sites. The five-year survival and growth of the hybrids and other pines in 12 of these trials were compared with Pinus radiata in the winter rainfall, and P. patula in the summer rainfall, regions where these species have been planted extensively. Except for the highest altitude site, where freezing conditions are common, the survival of most hybrids and tropical pines was better than P. patula or P. radiata. This was, in part, attributed to their improved tolerance to the pitch canker fungus, Fusarium circinatum, which was present in the nursery at the time of planting. In the winter rainfall area, the P. elliottii × P. caribaea hybrid, P. maximinoi and, surprisingly, the P. patula hybrids performed well. In the summer rainfall regions, hybrids with tropical parents such as P. caribaea, P. oocarpa and P. tecunumanii were more productive in the subtropical/warm temperate zone and, with increasing elevation, those hybrids crossed with P. patula performed relatively better. The P. patula × P. tecunumanii hybrid, particularly when crossed with low-elevation P. tecunumanii, performed exceptionally across most sites.
Keywords: productivity, survival, tolerance