Seedlings of temperate deciduous tree species were grown outdoors at ambient and at an elevated concentration of carbon dioxide to examine how aspects of their gas exchange would be altered by growth at elevated carbon dioxide concentration. Leaf conductances to water vapour and net carbon dioxide exchange rates were determined periodically near midday. Whole-plant carbon dioxide efflux rates in darkness were also determined. The stomatal conductance of leaves of plants grown and measured at 700 cm3 m−3 carbon dioxide did not differ from that of plants grown and measured at 350 cm3 m−3 in Malus domestica, Quercus prinus and Quercus robur at any measurement time. In Acer saccharinum, lower conductances occurred for plants grown and measured at elevated carbon dioxide concentration only at measurement temperatures above 33°C. Photo-synthetic adjustment to elevated carbon dioxide concentration was evident only in Q. robur. All species examined had lower rates of dark respiration per unit of mass when grown and measured at elevated carbon dioxide concentration.