T and D News, Number 1, 2006 - Internet Web Site: 'http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d' Send an e-mail request for username and password to: 't-d@fs.fed.us'

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Isolation Bags Aid Tree Improvement Programs

Tree improvement programs strive to grow trees with desirable traits, such as disease resistance, cold hardiness, and fast growth. Controlled pollination mates genetically superior trees. During the selective breeding process, isolation bags are placed over the branch tips of trees to prevent unwanted pollen from reaching female pine cone flowers. But isolation bags are not all the same; high-quality isolation bags are hard to find.

Photo of a woman injecting pollen collected from a male pine tree into an isolation bag covering female pine cone flowers.

MTDC found three distributors of isolation bags. Three types of bags were sent to the Forest Service's Coeur d'Alene Nursery near Coeur d'Alene, ID, and to the Dorena Genetic Resource Center near Cottage Grove, OR, for field evaluation.

One bag was immediately rejected because it would have allowed too much sunlight into the bag, overheating the developing pine cone flowers. Of the two remaining bags, both worked well, although one bag cost five times as much as the other.

The tech tip Suitable Pollen Isolation Bags for Selective Breeding of Conifers (0624–2308–MTDC) discusses the results of the evaluations and includes ordering information.

For more information, contact Mary Ann Davies, project leader (phone: 406–329–3981; e-mail: mdavies@fs.fed.us).

To order the report, contact Cailen Hegman, MTDC publications (phone: 406–329–3978; e-mail: cahegman@fs.fed.us).

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