Canadian Forest Service Publications

Freezing temperatures and exposure times during bud break and shoot elongation influence survival and growth of containerized black spruce (Picea mariana) seedlings. 1996. Bigras, F.J.; Hébert, C. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 26: 1481-1489.

Year: 1996

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 16707

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Spring frosts frequently cause significant damage to conifer seedlings during bud flushing and shoot elongation in forestry nurseries. To insure adequate protection, levels of frost sensitivity must be known during these stages of development. Eight- or 9-month-old containerized black spruce seedlings (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) were submitted to freezing temperatures of 0° to -10°C for 1-6 h at the following stages: (1) nonswollen terminal buds, (2) swollen terminal buds, (3) terminal bud scales bursting, needle tips emerging, and (4) shoots elongating, 1-5 cm. After freezing, seedlings were grown for 130 days in a greenhouse. Seedling survival was estimated; dead seedlings discarded; and damage to buds, needles, and roots as well as diameter and shoot increment were measured on the remaining seedlings. Frost sensivity increased as buds flushed and new shoots elongated. Decreased seedling and bud survival was noted with increasing time of freezing exposure and decreasing temperature in stages 2, 3, and 4. Damage to needles and roots increases, while diameter decreases, with decreasing temperatures at all stages; however, shoot increment was influenced by decreasing temperatures only at stages 2 and 3.