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Root cold hardiness and native distribution of subalpine conifersAuthor(s): Mark D. Coleman; Thomas M. Hinckley; Geoffrey McNaughton; Barbara A. Smit
Source: Can. J. For. Res. 22: 932-938. 1992.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionRoot and needle cold hardiness were compared in seedlings of subalpine conifers to determine if differences existed among species originating from either cold continental climates or mild maritime climates. Abies amabilis (Dougl.) Carr. and Tsuga mertensiana (Bong.) Carr. are exclusively distributed in maritime environments, while Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. and Pinus contorta Dougl. are more generally distributed in both continental and maritime environments. Because of the differing winter soil conditions of these two climatic types, special emphasis was placed on root cold hardiness. Cold hardiness for root samples, as measured by a decrease in the electrolyte leakage, was much greater for A. amabilis and A. lusiocarpa than for P. contorta and T. mertensiana (-11.4, -11.5, -7.5, and -7.5°C. respectively). Thus, subalpine conifer species distribution was not found to be influenced by root cold hardiness. Root cold hardiness of field-grown seedlings paralleled changes in soil temperature through February. Under constant temperature conditions (3°C) the maximum cold hardiness achieved in 6 weeks was not subsequently maintained in A. amabilis and A. lasiocarpa. Injury in unhardened roots was coincident with bulk freezing, whereas hardened roots were able to tolerate bulk freezing. Needles had more than three times the level of cold hardiness of roots when measured in December. All species except P. contorta reached needle cold hardiness levels below -40°C.
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CitationColeman, Mark D.; Hinckley, Thomas M.; McNaughton, Geoffrey; Smit, Barbara A. 1992. Root cold hardiness and native distribution of subalpine conifers. Can. J. For. Res. 22: 932-938. 1992.
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