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An Experimental Study of the Rest Period in Plants

An Experimental Study of the Rest Period in Plants

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Excerpt from An Experimental Study of the Rest Period in Plants: The Winter Rest, First Report

One practical application of the above principle is that, if, say, in the case of the peach, which is known to have a comparatively short rest period (about six weeks), the trees can be caused to continue growing later in the autumn, that is, go dormant late, they will re main dormant a correspondingly longer time in late winter, and hence not be so liable to injury by freezing after having made a slight growth. Peaches are nearly always killed by reason of their habit of premature growth during warm days in late winter. Every fruit grower knows that there is no danger of growth taking place in early winter, no matter how warm and mild the weather may be, because the trees are then in the midst of their rest period. When fully dormant, peach buds can safely withstand the low temperature of 20 degrees F., but after having made a slight growth, zero weather will nearly always be sufficient to kill them all.

The subject of hardiness, then, in the peach, as well as in other plants, may be found to be intimately associated with the rest period. If it were known definitely that plants have a tendency to grow at unseasonable times by reason of the fact that they have very slight resting periods, or that the resting stage is at an end, we might then set about devising means for regulating the period of dormancy, or, knowing that their habits of growth in this respect cannot be easily changed, of finding means for protecting them.

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