Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How to delay Christmas tree needle loss

Date:
December 24, 2010
Source:
Université Laval
Summary:
Researchers have discovered what causes Christmas tree needles to drop off, and how to double the lifespan of Christmas trees in homes.

Researchers at Université Laval, in collaboration with Nova Scotia Agricultural College, have discovered what causes Christmas tree needles to drop off, and how to double the lifespan of Christmas trees in homes.
Credit: iStockphoto/Borislav Gnjidic

Researchers at Université Laval, in collaboration with Nova Scotia Agricultural College, have discovered what causes Christmas tree needles to drop off, and how to double the lifespan of Christmas trees in homes. The authors presented their findings in a recent issue of the scientific journal Trees.

The researchers have identified a plant hormone -- ethylene -- responsible for needle loss in balsam fir. They made the discovery by placing fir branches in containers of water inside a growth chamber. After ten days the branches began to produce ethylene and, three days later, the needles began to drop. After 40 days, the branches were completely bare.

To test that the needle loss was in fact due to the ethylene, the researchers used two chemical compounds that interfere with this hormone: 1-MCP and AVG. After exposing the branches to one of these two products, the needle retention period rose to 73 and 87 days, respectively.

"By Day 40, the branches that had been treated were still green, tender, and fresh-looking, while the untreated branches had lost virtually all their needles," explains Steeve Pépin, co-author of the study and professor at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences at Université Laval.

These findings could have a significant impact for Christmas tree producers and consumers alike. "Since 1-MCP is a gas, it would be feasible to release it into the trucks used to ship the trees," suggests Pépin. This would be particularly useful for the export market. In 2008, Christmas tree sales topped $65 million in Canada, and half of the sales were generated by exports of some 1.8 million trees to the United States, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Consumers also stand to benefit from this discovery since it would be possible to dissolve AVG in the water added to the tree stand, which would prolong the tree's lifespan indoors. "What is really encouraging is that we managed to double the needle retention period of the branches," notes Steeve Pépin. "However, we still have to prove that we can transpose these findings to the entire tree," he concluded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université Laval. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mason T. MacDonald, Rajasekaran R. Lada, Alex I. Martynenko, Martine Dorais, Steeve Pepin, Yves Desjardins. Ethylene triggers needle abscission in root-detached balsam fir. Trees, 2010; 24 (5): 879 DOI: 10.1007/s00468-010-0457-2

Cite This Page:

Université Laval. "How to delay Christmas tree needle loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206111450.htm>.
Université Laval. (2010, December 24). How to delay Christmas tree needle loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206111450.htm
Université Laval. "How to delay Christmas tree needle loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206111450.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) — Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins