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.

Related Articles


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 November 28, 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 November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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