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Proceedings of Past Forest Nursery Association Meetings:

Moisture Stress Acclimation Reduces Sensitivity of Containerized Eldarica Pine to Harsh Handling
John T. Harrington, James T. Fisher, and John G. Mexal
1991: Park City, UT
Improper handling of seedlings can
cause increased mortality and reduce growth
following outplanting. Container growing systems
reduce physical handling impacts on tree
seedlings; however, containerization does not
alleviate the need for careful handling. To
determine if moisture-stress conditioning (MSC)
can improve seedling tolerance to harsh handling,
containerized Pinus eldarica seedlings were
subjected for 8 weeks to two growing regimes, well
watered and watered only when wilted at dawn
(moisture-stress conditioned, MSC). Handling
treatments consisted of a factorial combination of
days without water (0, 2 and 4 days) and a 90-
minute incubation at either 20, 25 or 30 C.
Shoot water potential and new root production over
14 days was used to evaluate the effects of poor
handling. MSC treatments bufferred the effects of
handling treatments on shoot water potential. MSC
seedlings also had an average 33% greater new root
production than well-watered controls. As
handling treatments became more severe, new root
production was reduced in control seedlings, with
little change in MSC seedlings.
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