Variation in cold hardiness and carbohydrate concentration from dormancy induction to bud burst among provenances of three European oak species

Morin X, Améglio T, Ahas R, Kurz-Besson C, Lanta V, Lebourgeois F, Miglietta F, Chuine I
Tree Physiology, Volume 27, Issue 6, 1 June 2007, Pages 817–825,

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Although cold hardiness is known to be a major determinant of tree species distribution, its dynamics and the factors that regulate it remain poorly understood. Variation in cold hardiness and carbohydrate concentration, from dormancy induction until bud burst, were investigated in populations of two deciduous (Quercus robur L. and Quercus pubescens Willd.) and one evergreen (Quercus ilex L.) European oak. Mean cold hardiness values in January were –56, –45 and –27 °C for Q. robur, Q. pubescens and Q. ilex, respectively. Soluble carbohydrate concentrations were closely related to instantaneous cold hardiness, estimated by the electrolyte leakage method, whereas total carbohydrate concentration was related to maximum cold hardiness. Both cold hardiness and carbohydrate concentration showed a close linear relationship with temperatures at the location of the sampled population. Our results show that temporal variation in both the inter- and intraspecific cold hardiness in European oaks can be related to variations in the concentrations of soluble carbohydrates and that these relationships appear to be driven by temperature.