Individual tree and stand characteristics were determined in a 27-year-old plantation of Sitka spruce ( Picea sitchensis [Bong.] Carr.) near Terrace, B.C. Planting densities ranged from 478 to 2990 stems per hectare. Three stand components were examined: all stems per hectare, the largest 25% diameter at breast height outside bark (dbhob) stems per hectare, and the largest 250 dbhob stems per hectare. Wider espacements produced trees with larger diameters, crowns, and branches after 27 years. Total volume per hectare was greatest in the closest espacement when all trees were considered, although this relationship reversed when only the largest 250 stems per hectare were examined. The results of this experiment suggest there is considerable flexibility in choosing an optimum stocking level, and a range of 800 to 1400 stems per hectare is recommended.
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Updated May 29, 2009