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Trees for Woody Biomass Applications: Improved Cottonwoods

Technology:

Background: Eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) that are suitable for planting in Iowa that produce increased biomass have been developed at Iowa State University. Technology Description: Fast growing trees such as aspen cottonwood and eucalyptus can be grown as so-called short rotation crops and have potential to be used as a source of woody biomass for the production of biofuels such as wood pellets and cellulosic ethanol. In the prime cottonwood growing region which includes eastern Louisiana eastern Arkansas western Mississippi and western Kentucky cottonwoods can grow 12-15 feet per year allowing them to be harvested biennially. In addition cottonwoods will regrow from stumps so that plantings may be managed through coppicing. However cottonwoods in the Great Plains are susceptible to melampsora leaf rust which reduces their vigor. Improved cottonwood (Populus deltoides) clones that produce increased biomass have been developed at Iowa State University. These trees may facilitate the development of cottonwood plantations for biomass production in Iowa and similar climatic zones. Applications: Bioenergy; paper and pulp

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