Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Paul G. SchabergPaula F. MurakamiJohn R. Butnor; Gary J. Hawley
    Date: 2017
    Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 47(5): 696-701.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (238.0 KB)


    Autumnal leaf anthocyanin expression is enhanced following exposure to a variety of environmental stresses and may represent an adaptive benefit of protecting leaves from those stresses, thereby allowing for prolonged sugar and nutrient resorption. Past work has shown that experimentally induced sugar accumulations following branch girdling triggers anthocyanin biosynthesis. We hypothesized that reduced phloem transport at low autumnal temperatures may increase leaf sugar concentrations that stimulate anthocyanin production, resulting in enhanced tree- and landscape-scale color change. We used refrigerant-filled tubing to cool individual branches in a mature sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) tree to test whether phloem cooling would trigger foliar sugar accumulations and enhance anthocyanin biosynthesis. Cooling increased foliar sucrose, glucose, and fructose concentrations 2- to nearly 10-fold (depending on the specific sugar and sampling date) relative to controls and increased anthocyanin concentrations by approximately the same amount. Correlation analyses indicated a strong and steady positive relationship between anthocyanin and sugar concentrations, which was consistent with a mechanistic link between cooling-induced changes in these constituents. Tested here at the branch level, we propose that low temperature induced reductions in phloem transport may be responsible for increases in foliar sugars that trigger anthocyanin displays at grander scales.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Schaberg, Paul G.; Murakami, Paula F.; Butnor, John R.; Hawley, Gary J. 2017.Experimental branch cooling increases foliar sugar and anthocyanin concentrations in sugar maple at the end of the growing season. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 47(5): 696-701.


    Google Scholar


    fall leaf color, low temperature, sucrose, glucose, fructose, Acer saccharum

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page