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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Variation in spring and autumn frost tolerance among provenances of Russian larches (Larix Mill.)

Eysteinsson, Throstur; Karlman, Lars; Fries, Anders; Martinsson, Owe; Skulason, Brynjar


Spring and autumn frost tolerance was measured using material from a range-wide (50-67 N, 38-158 E) provenance trial of four Russian larch species (Larix sukaczewii Dyl., L. sibirica Ledeb., L. gmelinii Rupr. and L. cajanderi Mayr.) growing in northern Sweden. Shoots were collected in early May and late September and frozen at -8, -12, -16 and -20C. Cambial damage was assessed visually after development under ideal conditions for 2 weeks. Differences in frost damage among provenances were highly significant in both spring and autumn. Autumn frost damage was significantly correlated with provenance latitude and longitude and spring frost damage was significantly correlated with provenance longitude but not latitude. Frost damage was not correlated with provenance elevation. North-western provenances showed the least damage and far-eastern provenances the greatest damage in both spring and autumn. A possible explanation for less spring frost damage to north-western provenances is adaptation to maritime conditions in proximity to the Barents Sea, which is often ice free in late winter. This would counteract early loss of frost tolerance and bud flushing if warm spells occurred in late winter. North-eastern Siberian provenances did not show similar adaptation and may exhibit increased spring frost damage if global warming eventually results in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia becoming ice free in late winter.


Adaptation; frost tolerance; larch; Larix; provenance trials

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2009, Volume: 24, number: 2, pages: 100-110