Greenhouse-cultured, container-grown seedlings of interior Douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca (Beissn.) France], Engelmann spruce [Picea engelmannii (Parry) Engelm.], and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum Engelm.) were acclimated and deacclimated to cold in growth chambers over 19 weeks. Heat tolerance and cold hardiness of needles, and bud dormancy, were measured weekly. Heat tolerance of Douglas fir and Engelmann spruce needles increased with development through the first complete annual cycle: new needles on actively growing plants; mature needles, not cold-hardy, on dormant plants; cold-hardy needles on dormant and quiescent plants; and mature, needles, not cold-hardy, on actively growing plants. Heat tolerance of ponderosa pine needles differed in two respects. New needles had an intermediate tolerance level to heat, and fully cold-hardy needles were the least tolerant. Thus, the physiological changes that conferred cold hardiness were not associated with greater heat tolerance in all the conifers tested. In none of these species did the timing of changes in heat tolerance coincide consistently with changes in cold hardiness or bud dormancy.
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