Plant moisture loss during preplanting handling is considered one of the major elements in transplanting shock. The aim of the present study was to evaluate test parameters that may be suitable for assessment of the physiological condition of noble fir ( Abies procera Rehd.) planting stock that has been subjected to desiccation stress. The transplanting-sensitive species was subjected to full exposure (roots and shoots) for 0, 0.5, 1.5, 3.0 and 6 h, or partial exposure (shoots) for 0, 3, 10, and 24 h before planting. The effects of desiccation on moisture content (MC), shoot water potential ( ? ), root growth potential (RGP), root electrolyte leakage (REL), survival and height growth were evaluated. Desiccation effects on plant parameters and performance were generally significant after 1.5 h of full or 10 h of partial exposure to treatment. REL explained the largest percentage of performance variation in fully exposed plants, followed by MC and ? . RGP tended to underestimate performance potential. Factors affecting the reliability of the test parameters, e.g. moisture loss rate, root rewetting and site conditions, are discussed.