Mellerowicz EJ, Coleman WK, Riding RT, Little CHA
Periodicity of Cambial Activity in Abies-Balsamea .1. Effects of Temperature and Photoperiod on Cambial Dormancy and Frost Hardiness
Physiologia Plantarum: 1992 85:515-525
The relationship between frost hardiness and growth potential, and their dependence on temperature and photoperiod, was investigated in the one-year-old cambium of balsam fir [Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.]. Six-year-old trees were exposed for 9 weeks to either the natural environment or one of 4 controlled environments in thc fall (18 September-18 November), spring (12 April-14 June) and summer (19 July-19 September). The 4 controlled environments were (1) WS, warm temperature (24/20-degrees-C in day/night) + short day (8 h), (2) WL, warm temperature (24/20-degrees-C) + long day (8 h + 1 h night break), (3) CS, cold temperature (9/5-degrees-C) + short day (8 h) and (4) CL, cold temperature (9/5-degrees-C) + long day (8 h + 1 h night break). At the beginning and end of each exposure, cambial activity was measured by recording the number of xylem, cambium and phloem cells, frost hardiness was estimated from the cambium's ability to survive freezing to -40-degrees-C, and cambial growth potential was deduced from the duration of the cell cycle and the production of xylem, cambium and phloem cells in cuttings cultured for 4 weeks with exogenous indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) under environmental conditions favorable for cambial activity. In the natural environment. frost hardening began in September and was completed in November, while dehardening occurred when the cambium reactivated. CL, CS, and to a lesser extent WS, promoted hardening in the summer and fall, but did not prevent dehardening in the spring. The cambial growth potentia[ in the natural environment declined from a maximum in April to a low level in June, reached a minimum in September, then increased to a high level in November. This potential was promoted by CL and CS on all dates by WL in the summer and fall. The ratio of xylem to phloem induced by IAA treatment was greatest in June and least in September in cuttings from trees exposed to the natural environment, and was increased by CL and CS in the fall. The cambium in intact branches of trees protected from chilling during the fall and winter resumed cell cycling after less than 9 weeks of dormancy, but produced mostly or only phloem in the subsequent growing period. It is concluded that the frost hardiness of the cambium, the IAA-induced cycling of cambial cells. and IAA-induced xylem to phloem ratio vary independently with season, temperature and photoperiod, and that the periodicity of these processes is regulated endogenously.
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