, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 809–817 | Cite as

Predicting spring frost sensitivity by bud development and temperature sum in Norway spruce seedlings

  • Jaana LuoranenEmail author
  • Sirkka Sutinen
  • Risto Rikala
Original Paper


Nurseries would benefit greatly if frost hardiness (FH) of seedlings could be predicted by some environmental variable or by bud development in spring. We investigated the FH of 1-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seedlings of local origin. The seedlings were stored frozen until incubated in the growth chamber at six different temperature sums (TSs) (0, 55, 88, 142, 185 and 240 d.d., >5°C) from mid-February to mid-March. FH of the buds, stems and previous year needles was assessed on three occasions. When the TS was 88 d.d. or less, buds exhibited only microscopic signs of development, even when seedlings tolerated temperatures below −10°C. As TS increased, primordial needles and primordial stems of buds grew while FH weakened, especially in previous year needles. When the TS was at least 142 d.d., all plant parts were frost hardy to approximately −6°C. Monitoring TS and bud development can help predict FH of Norway spruce seedlings in spring. However, more studies with seedlings of different ages and from multiple locations are necessary to appreciate the generality of our results.


Bud phenology Frost hardiness Picea abies Stereomicroscopy 



We should like to thank Auli Lehtinen, Mervi Ahonpää, Seija Repo and Jaana Rissanen for their valuable technical assistance in the experiments, Dr. Juha Lappi for statistical advice and Dr. Michael Hardman for checking the language.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Suonenjoki Research UnitFinnish Forest Research InstituteSuonenjokiFinland
  2. 2.Joensuu Research UnitFinnish Forest Research InstituteJoensuuFinland

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