Current issue: 56(2)
Under compilation: 56(3)
Our main objective was to determine whether various genetically improved reproductive materials of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) differ in growth rhythm, autumn cold acclimation and resilience from unimproved materials. The study consisted of two successive indoor experiments with Scots pine seedlings representing four levels of genetic gain (unimproved natural stands, first-generation seed orchards, 1.5-generation seed orchards and seed orchards established with freezing-tested parents) and a wide range of geographical origins within Finland. The seedlings were assessed for terminal shoot elongation, growth cessation, bud set, freezing injuries and bud flushing over the first growth period. All the adaptive traits showed a latitudinal trend regardless of the genetic level. Seed orchard progenies and natural stand progenies did not differ significantly in the timing of growth cessation, bud set, and the flushing rate of the frost-injured seedlings, after the trait variation was adjusted to the latitude of origin. The differences in autumn frost hardiness were insignificant, too, except for the somewhat higher injury rate displayed by the first-generation seed orchard materials. The finding was not conclusive due to ambiguous results from the two experiments. Overall, we did not find evidence of alarming compromises in the adaptive performance of genetically improved materials.