Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of soil freezing and drought stress on abscisic acid content of sugar maple sap and leaves. 1994. Bertrand, A.; Robitaille, G.; Nadeau, P.; Boutin, R. Tree Physiology 14(4): 413-425.

Year: 1994

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 16558

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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In 1991 and 1992, mature maple trees (Acer saccharum Marsh.) were freeze-stressed or drought-stressed by preventing precipitation (snow or rain) from reaching the forest floor under selected trees. Lack of snow cover caused a decrease in soil temperature to well below 0°C from December to April and a lowering of the soil water content to 10%. The abscisic acid (ABA) concentration in the spring sap of deep-soil frost-stressed trees was significantly higher than in control or drought-stressed trees. The increase in ABA concentration in the xylem sap in the spring of 1991 and 1992 preceded symptoms of canopy decline and a decrease in leaf area that were observed during the summers of 1991 and 1992. These results suggest a role for ABA in root-to-shoot communication in response to environmental stress. The largest differences in ABA concentration induced by the treatments was found in sap collected at the end of sap flow. The increase in ABA concentration in spring sap at the end of the sap flow could be used as an early indicator of stress suffered by trees during the winter. Not only did the increase in ABA concentration occur before any visible symptoms of tree decline appeared, but the trees that showed the most evident decline had the highest ABA concentrations in the spring sap. Leaf ABA concentration was not a good indicator of induced stress.