Beskydy 2017, 10, 17-26

The variability of wood density and compression strength of Norway spruce (Picea abies/L./Karst.) within the stem

Petr Horáček, Marek Fajstavr, Marko Stojanović

Global Change Research Institute CAS, Bělidla 986/4a, CZ-603 00 Brno, Czech Republic

This study relates to the variability of wood density and compression strength parallel to grain within the stem of spruce trees (Picea abies/L./Karst.). The sample tree originated from the Giant Mountains and was an adult autochtonous mountain spruce. The properties were analysed for wood that formed between 1850 and 1990 along (1) the north-south oriented radius and along (2) the stem height on test specimens with the following dimensions: 20×20×30 mm, prepared from logs taken from the stem base at distances of 2, 4, 6, 10, 14, 20, 22, 24 and 26 m. In individual sections, the properties of the samples oriented in the north or south direction did not differ, while the effect of different ages on the properties showed statistically significant differences at each orientation (p < 0.05). Along the radius, the properties showed an increasing trend in tree-rings that developed between 1850 and 1940 with a slight decrease in the following years. The coefficient of variation in various decades was 1–7 % (wood density) and 3–15 % (wood compression strength). Along the stem height, the properties gradually increased to a height of 20 m, while the increase in values ​​was more pronounced in the 22–26 m interval. The variability of the wood properties along the stem height corresponded to the variability of the properties along the stem radius. A linear dependence between wood strength and density was demonstrated. Compared to what had been previously written, wood density showed a greater impact, probably due to the biomechanical optimization of the stem with regard to mechanical wind and snow loads in the mountains.


This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of CR within the National Sustainability Program I (NPU I), grant number LO1415.


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