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Cultural practices to develop larger, more robust oak seedlings have been developed, however, the potential improvement conferred by these larger seedlings has received limited testing in the Northeast. We evaluated the effect of seedling size and pedigree on the survival, growth, and competitive ability of northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings planted on a xeric site in northeastern Pennsylvania. We planted seedlings from a state tree nursery that represented locally available seedling stock, as well as high-quality seedlings from seven half-sibling families grown following improved nursery protocol. Half-sibling families were split into three size classes based on their root collar diameter and height; large, average, and poor. Eleven years after planting, survival across seedling treatments ranged from 45 percent for locally available seedlings, to 96 percent for one half-sibling family. Two families showed superior growth, survival, and competitive ability compared with the others. Seedling size class conferred moderate height and diameter advantage in four and three of the families, respectively. Initial seedling size was an important variable in models predicting survival, diameter, and dominance (competitive ability). Over time, the relationship between initial diameter and height diminished.

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