Paying a premium for better genetics is not new to agriculture or to forestry in some parts of the United States, but paying a premium for genetically improved hardwood trees is new for most consumers. Genetic improvement efforts for hardwoods, especially in the Midwest, have been relatively modest and slow to produce marketable products. However, both public and private nurseries are beginning to sell limited quantities of hardwood seeds, seedlings, and grafted trees variously labeled as “genetically improved,” “improved,” “genetically enhanced,” “superior,” and “select.” Items labeled with these terms usually command higher prices than common planting stock. Landowners in Indiana plant millions of hardwood seedlings each year. Most of these seedlings are planted as 1-0 bare-root stock (Fig. 1). Landowners thinking of investing in planting stock that is sold with an implied assurance of superior performance need information to make informed decisions about the value of these products. This publication describes the laws that apply to those who purchase seeds and nursery stock and explains the methods used by tree breeders to improve trees. This information should help consumers judge the value of the trees they purchase.
Date of this Version
Woeste, K. 2005. A consumer’s guide to genetic terminology used in the sale of hardwood seeds, seedlings and grafted stock. Walnut Council Bulletin 32 (3). 3ff