Canadian Forest Service Publications
Simulated root freezing in the nursery: effects on the growth and physiology of containerized boreal conifer seedlings after outplanting. 2002. Dumais, D.; Coursolle, C.; Bigras, F.J.; Margolis, H.A. Can. J. For. Res. 32: 605-615.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 37990
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The effects of induced root freezing injury on 2+0 white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss), black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP), and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) seedlings were studied. Hardened seedlings were exposed to freezing during the fall and cold stored until planting. Seedlings were planted in spring on two field sites with different soil moisture levels (wet or dry). Seedling morphology and physiology were measured periodically during the first growing season, and mortality was evaluated at the end of the season. With the exception of June measurements on the wet site, where daytime water potential fell as low as –2.0 MPa, root damage did not seriously affect shoot water potential. Generally, stomatal conductance decreased with increasing root damage. Net photosynthesis on both sites decreased between 22 and 39% with increasing root damage. Root damage did not affect the ratio of intercellular to ambient CO2 concentration. As well, reductions in the nitrogen concentration of current-year foliage with increasing root damage were observed, suggesting that the observed reductions in net photosynthesis were caused by nonstomatal factors. Root growth was greater on the wet site than on the dry site, particularly between August and October, when mean soil minimum temperatures were lower on the dry site. On both sites, aerial dry mass was only slightly affected by root damage in July and August, but the effect of damage became more pronounced in October on the wet site. Black spruce and white spruce seedling mortality began being affected when approximately 50% of the root systems were damaged, while jack pine mortality was affected starting at 40% damage. Root damage levels of 50% caused 2.0 and 1.5 cm reductions in annual height increment of white spruce and black spruce, respectively, and 40% damage caused a reduction of 1.0 cm in annual height increment of jack pine.