Quantifying the influence of live crown ratio on the mechanical properties of clear wood

Adam Kuprevicius, David Auty, Alexis Achim, John P. Caspersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Conceptual models of wood formation suggest that trees with large crowns produce wood with reduced mechanical properties due to enhanced auxin production, but few studies have explicitly examined the relationship between crown dimensions and wood properties. Using white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) trees harvested from spacing and thinning trials in central Ontario, Canada, this study examines how live crown ratio influences the strength and stiffness of wood. Modulus of rupture (MOR) and modulus of elasticity (MOE) were measured by conducting three-point bending tests on small (150 × 10 × 10 mm) defect-free samples selected from different radial positions at three heights within the stems. MOR and MOE were strongly and positively related to cambial age, and also increased slightly with sampling height. In addition, MOR showed a significant decrease with increasing live crown ratio - calculated as the ratio of crown length to tree height - in both the spacing and the thinning trials. However, MOE decreased significantly with live crown ratio only in the spacing trial, where the younger trees had a larger range of crown ratios. These results provide tentative support for models of wood formation that link wood quality with crown development, suggesting that crown metrics could be used to predict wood properties before harvest, but doing so may be problematic in mature stands that exhibit less variability in crown dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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