Canadian Forest Service Publications
Field performance of containerized black spruce seedlings with root systems damaged by freezing or pruning. 1998. Bigras, F.J. New Forests 15: 1-9.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 16544
Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
Roots of 2-year-old black spruce seedlings (Picea mariana [Mill.] B.S.P.) were exposed to freezing temperatures to destroy 20, 40, 60, and 80% of the root systems. For comparison, other root systems were pruned to eliminate the same proportions of roots. Treated and control seedlings were planted in spring 1992 at Forêt Montmorency (the Université Laval forest research station, 50 km north of Quebec City). From 1992 to 1995, survival, shoot height and stem diameter were measured. Mortality mainly occurred in 1993, the year after planting; pruned seedlings showed practically no mortality while seedlings with 20, 40, 60, and 80% of their root systems affected by frost showed mortality rates of 0, 6, 17, and 24%, respectively. Shoot height and stem diameter decreased with increasing root damage when compared to controls. After three years on the planting site, shoot height was reduced by 2, 8, 11, and 18% while stem diameter was reduced by 4, 21, 25, and 24% for 20, 40, 60, and 80% frost damage, respectively. For pruned seedlings, shoot height was increased by 3% at 20% damage and was decreased by 1, 3, and 13% for 40, 60, and 80% root damage while stem diameter was reduced by 1, 4, 8, 19% for 20, 40, 60, and 80% respectively. Use of damaged seedlings on the planting sites should be limited in order to reduce the cost of replacement planting.