Current issue: 54(2)
The mean temperature during the potential growing season (April–September) may increase by 1 °C by 2030, and by 4 °C, or even more, by 2100, accompanied by an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 536–807 ppm, compared to the current climate of 1981–2010, in which atmospheric CO2 is at about 350 ppm. This may affect both the growth and frost hardiness of boreal trees. In this work, we studied the responses of height and autumn frost hardiness development in 22 half-sib genotypes of one-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seedlings to elevated temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration under greenhouse conditions. The three climate treatments used were: T+1 °C above ambient and ambient CO2; T+4 °C above ambient and ambient CO2; and T+4 °C above ambient and elevated CO2 (700 ppm). The height growth rate and final height were both higher under T+4 °C compared to T+1 °C. Temperature increase also delayed the onset, and shortened the duration, of autumn frost hardiness development. Elevated CO2 did not affect the development of height or frost hardiness, when compared to the results without CO2 elevation under the same temperature treatment. Higher temperatures resulted in greater variation in height and frost hardiness development among genotypes. Three genotypes with different genetic backgrounds showed superior height growth, regardless of climate treatment; however, none showed a superior development of autumn frost hardiness. In future studies, clonal or full-sib genetic material should be used to study the details of autumn frost hardiness development among different genotypes.
In trees, xylem must fulfil three important tasks: conducting water to leaves, storing nutrients and water, and supporting the trunk. The origin of the trunk, i.e., seed or basal bud that forms sprouts, and the growth site may affect xylem anatomy, differences of which can affect successful growth of trees. Both seedlings and sprouts of downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) from four different growth sites with two different soil media, peat and mineral soil, were studied. The diameter of fibres and vessels and the thickness of the double fibre wall were measured, and the number of vessels, rays and axial parenchyma cells was counted. The fibre wall:lumen ratio, vessel percentage area and vessel size:number ratio were calculated. Xylem from sprouts showed only occasionally more mature characteristics than that of seedlings. The number of rays was similar at all four sites, but differences were observed in all other studied characteristics between sites, particularly if soil type was different. The vessel size and number correlated with the number of axial parenchyma cells in juvenile wood, which emphasises the importance of their connections with storage cells particularly at this stage of growth. Good water conductivity was connected with weaker wood, particularly in maturing wood.