Hardiness and Ornamental Characteristics of Lacebark Elm Selections

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  • 1 1Horticulture Research Center, Kansas State Univ., 1901 East 95th South, Wichita, KS 67233
  • 2 2Dept. of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources, Kansas State Univ., Throcmorton Hall 2021, Manhattan, KS 66506

Numerous cultivars of lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia) have been introduced recently without adequate testing of their hardiness. A block of commercial cultivars plus numerous experimental numbers were established to observe differences in growth form, ornamental characteristics, and cold hardiness. Laboratory freezing tests were conducted from November to March over a 3-year period to determine acclimation and deacclimation to low temperatures. Stem sections approximately 5 cm long were sealed in test tubes and placed in a low-temperature programmable freezer maintained at 0°C. Samples were cooled by approximately 6°C per hour from 0 to –48°C and held for 1 h at each temperature. Samples were then removed, allowed to thaw at room temperature, and held for 7 to 10 days. Stem samples were sectioned longitudinally to observe browning in xylem and bark tissues. During the winter of 1995–96, no visible injury could be noted on trees in the field in spite of very dry, desiccating weather with temperatures reaching –23°C. Laboratory freezing tests indicated acclimation to –30°C by 18 Dec. 1995 on several cultivars. During warm periods in February, deacclimation occurred on many selections to –18°C, whereas others maintained a killing point of –30°C. Growth form, bark exfoliation, and fall color varied among cultivars.

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