ASQ - Statistics Division

Quality Engineering Your Christmas Tree

Abstract: Christmas trees are used as a case study to highlight quality applications in a non-manufacturing industry. Genetics is one of the latest tools being applied to improve the average quality level of tree crops. Tree improvement through selective breeding is heavily reliant on design of experiments (DOE) and statistical data analysis. The multi-year time frame required for tree crop growth requires long-term planning of longitudinal studies, sequential experimentation, and up-front identification of other factors for inclusion in these designs. Extensive work has been done by the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources to improve the trees grown and sold for wood products and for the Christmas tree market in particular. Experimental design considerations must take the underlying genetics into account, as well as balance complex logistical and feasibility issues associated with field testing. Statistical data analysis is critical in quantifying differences and interpreting results so that the direction of future studies may be planned.

Keywords: Field Testing - Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) - Improvement - Genetic - Christmas trees

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