Current issue: 54(2)
Growth, crown structure, flowering and seed production of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) seedlings, grafts and micropropagated plants was compared during four years in a polythene greenhouse experiment. The growth of the seedlings was clearly the most vigorous and that of the grafts the weakest, the micropropagated plants being intermediate. The seedlings had the highest and the grafts the lowest number of branches before cutting the tops of the plants, but the differences between the material types were no more significant after cutting the tops. The grafts had significantly shorter and thinner branches than the seedlings and the micropropagated plants, whereas the differences in branch length and branch thickness between the latter two groups were not significant. The grafts started flowering at the age of two years, one year earlier than the other two types of material. At the age of four years the micropropagated plants had abundant seed production, about 75% of that of the seedlings and about two times higher than that of the grafts. Thus, the micropropagated plants can be used instead of grafts when establishing polythene greenhouse seed orchards of birch.