Seedlings of several landscape tree species frequently experience cold injury at temperatures that are noninjurious to older specimens of the same species. However, there are few published reports quantifying age-related differences in hardiness. In this study, the stem cold hardiness of a mature, 35-year-old female Sakhalin corktree was compared with that of half-sib seedling progeny of different ages. Ten-, 22-, and 34-month-old seedlings were hardy to -4 °C on 9 Oct., while the 35-year-old parent withstood -12 °C. Ten-month-old seedlings exhibited no further increase in hardiness on 26 Oct., whereas the 34-month-old seedlings and the mature parent were hardy to -16 °C. The 22-month-old seedlings were intermediate in hardiness on this date. The 10- and 22-month-old seedlings had died back to the snowline by late January, but the 34-month-old seedlings and the mature tree were uninjured. The corktree seedlings did not attain midwinter hardiness levels comparable to the adult tree until the winter following their fourth season of growth. The absence of flower buds on cold-tolerant 4- and 5-year-old seedlings suggests that physiological maturation is not a prerequisite for full expression of the cold acclimation capability of this species.
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