Drying and Rehydration of Atlantic White Cedar, Arizona Cypress, Eastern White Pine, Leyland Cypress and Virginia Pine Christmas Trees

in HortScience
Authors:
L. Eric HinesleyDepartment of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

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Layne K. SnellingDepartment of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

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Drying and rehydration characteristics were measured for Atlantic white cedar [Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P.], Arizona cypress [Cupressus arizonica var. glabra `Carolina Sapphire' (Sudworth) Little], Leyland cypress [× Cupressocyparis leylandii (A. B. Jacks. & Dallim.)], Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana L.), and eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) Christmas trees. Species varied in drying rate, loss of mass during display, water use after rehydration, the relationship between moisture content and xylem water potential (Ψ), and keeping quality. Leyland cypress and Arizona cypress rehydrated from Ψ values as low as –5.0 MPa, and remained in good condition after rehydration. The critical moisture content for Virginia pine and white pine was between –2.5 and –3.0 MPa. The ability of Atlantic white cedar to rehydrate decreased quickly with time out of water, and water consumption dropped sharply within a few days after placement in water. Change in fresh mass varied from +1% for Arizona cypress to –29% for Atlantic white cedar. Keeping quality of Virginia pine was poor, even for trees that were placed in water the day of cutting.

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