Year-round cultivation under light emitting diodes (LEDs) has gained interest in boreal forest regions like Fenno-Scandinavia. This concept offers forest nurseries an option to increase seedling production normally restricted by the short vegetation period and the climate conditions. In contrast to some horticultural crops which can be cultivated entirely under LEDs without sunlight, forest seedlings need to be transplanted outdoors in the nursery at a very young age before being outplanted in the field. Juvenile plants are less efficient using absorbed light and dissipating excess energy making them prone to photoinhibition at conditions that usually do not harm mature plants. The outdoor transfer can cause stress in the seedlings due to high sunlight intensity and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation not typically present in the spectra of LED lamps. This study tested possible treatments for mitigating light shock stress in seedlings of Picea abies
(L.) Karst. and Pinus sylvestris
L. transplanted from indoor cultivation under LEDs to outdoor sunlight exposure. Three sowings were carried out in 2014 (May and June) and 2015 (May) cultivating the seedlings during five weeks under LED lights only. Afterwards, higher light intensity or UV radiation treatments were applied during one week in order to adapt the seedlings to natural outdoor conditions. After transplanting a transition phase was introduced using shading cloths for one or three weeks as outdoor treatments for light shock mitigation. Chlorophyll fluorescence (ChlF) levels and CO2
assimilation rates were measured before transplanting and followed outdoors during 5 weeks. The ChlF results revealed stress symptoms in the photoreceptors during the first days after transplanting. After five weeks outdoors the ChlF levels had recovered and the light saturation points had shifted, allowing higher CO2
assimilation rates. By the end of the vegetation period the morphological attributes showed no major differences between treatments.
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