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Effects of early long-night treatment on diameter and height growth, second flush and frost tolerance in two-year-old Picea abies container seedlings

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The object of this study was to obtain Norway spruce seedlings with buds set, ready for summer planting from 1 July. An early long-night treatment prevented flushing of the newly formed terminal buds and ceased height growth, but slightly reduced hardiness in buds and needles. Nevertheless, a sufficient hardiness level in the autumn was acquired at a Norwegian nursery at 59°46' N, with plants of the local provenance given a long-night treatment (14 h) for 13 days from 25 June. Similar treatment at a nursery at 64°30' N did not give the same result; all treatments led to a second flush with resumed growth of the local provenance. A trial with seed lots from several provenances was therefore performed at this nursery, and a significant correlation was found between the critical night length of the seed lot and their ability to produce non-flushing buds; the longer the critical night length of the seed lot, the fewer non-flushing buds. Responses at the northern nursery are probably due to the lack of a dark period after termination of the treatment, and too short a treatment period to attain bud dormancy. An early and successful long-night treatment will also produce shorter seedlings with a larger root collar diameter.

Keywords: Autumn shoots; Picea abies; critical night length; root collar growth; seedling production

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Ås, Norway

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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