Factors causing mortality of tree seeds and succulent seedlings
Germlings and small tree seedlings are exposed to extreme conditions in the forest floor. In this study the influence of climatic factors to seeds and seedlings were studied experimentally, and an attempt was made to estimate the importance of various factors in several sowing experiments in Finland.
Seeds of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) were subjected to temperature variations which simulated those of exposed forest sites. The seeds lost some of their germinative capacity during the five-day treatments. Succulent seedlings died when subjected to immersion for 15 minutes at temperatures from 51.5 to 55 ºC. After a hardening pretreatments the seedlings tolerated 2-3 ºC higher temperatures. In artificial humus soil exposed to strong insolation for 15 minutes, temperatures in the range of 54-65 ºC proved to be critical for the seedlings. In natural conditions, also little lower temperatures may prove fatal. Exposure of succulent seedlings of Scots pine and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) to insolation showed that most damage occurred on humus, quartz sand, and humus-sand mixture, due to rapid evaporation. Seeds of Scots pine, Norway spruce, Betula pendula and Betula pubescens tolerated poorly drought if germination had progressed to a 5–10 mm long radicle. Succulent seedlings tolerated 53-77 days long drought better in humus than in fine silty sand. Seedlings of Pinus sylvestris, Picea abies, Alnus incana and A. glutinosa tolerated cold variably. The developmental stage of the seedling affected cold resistance. Pine seeds sown in furrows germinated well after rain and the survival was high. Frost heaving, snail and insects caused some damages. Germination was lowest at the shallowest furrows. Sowing on natural surfaces gave poor results. Largest damages were caused by birds and ants.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Published in 1955