Freeze-desiccation is probably the main cause of overwinter injury occurring in the southern parts of British Columbia boreal forests. The greatest damage takes place in spring when there is little snow, the soil is frozen, and days are sunny and warm. The severity of injury increases with increasing seedling height (and less significantly, with decreasing stem diameter) and with vigorous growth during the previous growing season. Naturally regenerated seedlings are little affected by this kind of injury. There is often less injury on plowed sites, and, particularly, on mounded sites than on raw-planted sites. The latter findings suggest the relationship between the placement of roots in the soil and the susceptibility of seedlings to overwinter injury. Spring-planted seedlings grow less and decline more in their health during the post-injury growing season than do summer-planted seedlings. Practical recommendations are made regarding selection of planting stock, site preparation, and the choice of planting time.
FRDA Research Report 254 (496 KB)
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Updated July 24, 2015