Dead Prunus Flower-bud Primordia Retain Deep-supercooling Properties

in HortScience
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  • 1 Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Washington State University, Presser, WA 99350

Differential thermal analysis (DTA) was used to measure deep supercooling in flower buds of Prunus dulcis Mill., P. armeniaca L., P. davidiana (Carr.) Franch, P. persica (L.) Batsch, three sweet cherry (P. avium L.) selections, and `Bing' cherries (P. avium L.) during Winter 1990-91 and 1991-92. Low temperatures in Dec. 1990 killed many flower buds. After the freeze, dead flower primordia continued to produce low-temperature exotherms (LTEs) at temperatures near those of living primordia for >2 weeks. In Feb. 1992, cherry buds that had been killed by cooling to -33C again produced LTEs when refrozen the next day. As buds swelled, the median LTE (LTE50) of dead buds increased relative to that of living buds, and the number of dead buds that produced LTEs decreased. LTE artifacts from dead flower priimordia must be recognized when DTA is used to estimate LTE50 of field-collected samples.

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