In previous work, we have shown that near-lethal heat stress can overcome dormancy in Red-osier dogwood, Cornus sericea L. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of premature breaking of dormancy on the development of cold hardiness. Plants at three stages of dormancy (early, deep, and late) were exposed to 47C for one hour and then placed into 3 post-treatment environments (0C, 23C, and natural conditions). At periodic time intervals, the plants were evaluated for bud break, cold hardiness, and stem injury. These studies suggest that premature breaking of dormancy at the early stage had no effect on hardiness development, whereas at the deep and late stages of dormancy, premature breaking of dormancy caused a faster rate of deacclimation at the warmer post-treatment environments. In addition, we observed that the heat-treated plants died during storage at 0C, and survived at 23C storage and natural conditions.
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