Encyclopedia > Dormancy

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Dormancy is a survival strategy that temperate climate species have evolved to stay alive over the winter. These species have a biological clock that tells them to slow activity and prepare soft tissues for an onslaught of freezing temperatures.

Species that have well developed dormancy needs cannot be tricked out of them. If you attempt to give a such as species, for instance Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, an eternal summer by bringing it in the house, it will grow continuously for as long as two years. After a maximum period of sustained growth, a temperate climate plant will automatically go dormant no matter what the season or condition. Deciduous plants will lose their leaves, evergreens will curtail all new growth. This is very stressful to the plant and usually fatal. It will be 100% fatal if the plant does not receive the necessary period of cold temperatures required to break the dormancy.

To summarize, temperate climate plants require a cold dormant period. They have internal clocks that tell them when to go dormant. The clocks can be tricked to some degree. After a normal growing season, dormancy can be brought on by decreasing temperatures and shortened daylength[?], or delayed by maintaining summer temperatures and daylength.

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