Seasonal changes in soluble carbohydrates of Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] needles were monitored in Fall 1984, Spring 1985, and Fall 1985 through Spring 1986. Raffinose concentration increased in the fall and decreased in the spring. There was a 23-fold increase in raffinose concentration from Aug. 1985 to Jan. 1986. Sucrose concentration varied from fall to spring with the lowest concentration occurring in February. Postharvest needle abscission from harvested branches held 6 weeks without water was inversely correlated with raffinose concentration at the time of harvest. Diurnal fluctuations in soluble carbohydrates were monitored on 12 July and 26 Oct. 1985. Raffinose concentration fluctuated slightly on both dates with a decrease during the dark period. On 12 July, sucrose increased during the day and decreased at night, whereas hexoses decreased in the day and increased at night. No significant diurnal changes in sucrose or hexose were evident on 26 Oct. Controlled-environment studies at 24° (day)/18°C (night), 18°/12°, and 12°/6° showed that most of the raffinose accumulation was due to low temperature; the remainder to short days. Postharvest needle loss was lowest in plants with high needle raffinose concentrations resulting from the 12°/6° temperature. Storage without water resulted in significant postharvest needle loss for shoots from plants preconditioned with 24°/18° and 18°/12°, but not for those exposed to 12°/76°. Compared to long days, plants preconditioned with short days lost fewer needles following harvest.