[NAFEX] Hardening-off Question

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Wed Aug 10 17:29:01 EDT 2005

On Aug 10, 2005, at 9:46 AM, Lucky Pittman wrote:

> At 07:18 AM 8/10/2005, J.Fruth wrote:
>>    Here's a question a lot of us wold like to know the answer to:   
>> Does
>> anyone have an answer?  "Physiologically speaking, what happens  
>> inside the
>> branches, twigs, trunk, etc. of fruit trees as the harden off for the
>> winter?"
> Jim,
> I'm not a plant physiologist/pathologist, but I suspect the answer  
> lies in
> the degree of lignification - development of increasing amounts of  
> lignins
> - the compounds which give woody plants(as well as grasses) much of  
> their
> structural integrity.
> Lucky

I am also no specialist, but I would guess that another part of the  
answer is the amount of water in the tissue.  I bet the tree dries  
itself out, increasing the concentration of other "stuff" dissolved  
in the sap to increase the freezing point of the remaining liquids  
and to decrease the damage that swelling of freezing liquids would  
otherwise cause.

This is purely a guess, but I know that in animal cells a lot of the  
damage from freezing is actually mechanical damage to the cell  
membranes caused by swelling water and ice crystals.

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