Fløistad, I. S. and Granhus, A. 2019. Morphology and Phenology in Picea abies Seedlings in Response to Split Short Day Treatments. Baltic Forestry 25(1): 38-44.

   Short-day (SD) treatment is used by forest nurseries to induce growth cessation in Picea abies seedlings. SD treatment may however increase the risk of reflushing in autumn and earlier bud break the following spring. When the start of the SD treatment is early in order to control seedling height, the duration of the SD treatment should be longer in order to prevent reflushing in autumn. However, due to the amount of manual work involved in the short-day treatment, increasing the number of days is undesirable from a practical point of view. Splitting the SD treatment could be a way to achieve both early height control and at the same time avoid autumn bud break with less workload. We tested how different starting dates and durations of SD treatment influenced on morphological and phenological traits. Regardless of timing and duration of the SD treatment, height growth was reduced compared to the untreated controls. Seedlings given split SD (7+7 days interrupted with two weeks in long days) had less height growth than all other treatments. Root collar diameter growth was significantly less in control seedlings than in seedlings exposed to early (7 or 14 days) or split (7+7 days) SD treatment. There were also differences in the frequency of reflushing and bud break timing among the SD treated seedlings, dependent on duration and starting date. If the SD treatment started early, a continuous 14-day SD treatment was not sufficient to avoid high frequencies of reflushing. However, by splitting the SD treatment into two periods of 7+7 days these negative effects were largely avoided, although spring bud break occurred earlier than in the controls.

Keywords: bud flush; height growth; lammas shoot; morphology; Norway spruce; Picea abies; phenology; root collar diameter; second bud break; short day treatment; sturdiness