Seedlings produced in the breeding programme are evaluated in the nursery for pest and disease resistance and vigour, and selections are then grown on and bulked up for on-farm and riverbank field trials.
Where possible field trials are repeated in a range of climatic conditions. We are very dependent on the support of willing farmers and river managers to host field trials and ensure the conditions of establishment and maintenance are adhered to.
Changes of farm ownership during the life of a field trial are quite common.
Assessments of performance are made for up to 15 years, particularly for poplars, before the particular clone is considered for commercial release. Identification of the sex of a poplar clone in the field may take up to nine years in New Zealand.
Production of poplar and willow material for sale and distribution is carried out by regional council and commercial nurseries.
The programme is always grateful for offers from landowners to host field trials of experimental breeding material. Offers can be made through your local regional council land management officer.
Trial sites since 1998
Populus maximowwiczii x nigra trial sites
Rissington, Hawke's Bay
Millers Flat, Otago
Little Annie, Gisborne
Populus deltoides x ciliata trial sites
Sites in Taranaki, Taupo, Wairarapa
Experimental poplars and willows
Central Hawke's Bay
Coastal and inland Southland