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Abstract

Time course of apical shoot growth and shoot tip abortion in northern ecotypes (lat. 69°39′N, long. 18°37′E) of Salix pentandra and S. caprea have been investigated. In trees more than 15 years old growing under natural climatic conditions apical growth cessation and shoot tip abortion normally occurred in June-July when the day length still was 24 h. Application of GA3, in spring to the apex effectively delayed growth cessation and shoot tip abortion. Application of kinetin was without effect. First-year seedlings of both species grew continuously at temperatue of 9 to 24°C in 24 h photoperiod. Short days induced apical growth cessation, but two to four (S. pentandra) or three to five (S. caprea) weeks of 12 h photoperiod were required to stop the elongation growth. The results indicated that the critical photoperiod for apical growth cessation in the used ecotype of S. pentandra was 16 to 18 h at 18°C. Short days had a minor effect only on the formation of apical leaf primordia in small seedlings. Development of axillary buds and radial growth were stimulated by short days when compared with long days. Small seedlings of both species (3 to 8 cm high at the start) formed terminal buds in short days, but in large seedlings (more than about 15 cm high) apical growth cessation was accompanied by shoot tip abortion. Abscisic acid applied to the apex or through a leaf did not induce growth cessation in S. pentandra seedlings grown in continuous light. The growth retardants CCC, B-9 and Phosphon D reduced growth rate under continuous light and induced shoot tip abortion in some plants. The effect of CCC was counteracted by GA3. Apical growth cessation in short days was significantly delayed by a single GA1 application.