Chromatin assembly factor-1 (CAF-1) is a histone H3/H4 chaperone that participates in DNA and chromatin interaction processes. In this manuscript, we show that organs from CAF-1 deficient plants respond differently to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation than to other genotoxic stresses. For example, CAF-1 deficient leaves tolerate better UV-B radiation, showing lower cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) accumulation, lower inhibition of cell proliferation, increased cell wall thickness, UV-B absorbing compounds, and ploidy levels, whereas previous data from different groups have shown that CAF-1 mutants show shortening of telomeres, loss of 45S rDNA, and increased homologous recombination, phenotypes associated to DNA breaks. Interestingly, CAF-1 deficient roots show increased inhibition of primary root elongation, with decreased meristem size due to a higher inhibition of cell proliferation after UV-B exposure. The decrease in root meristem size in CAF-1 mutants is a consequence of defects in programmed cell death after UV-B exposure. Together, we provide evidence demonstrating that root and shoot meristematic cells may have distinct protection mechanisms against CPD accumulation by UV-B, which may be linked with different functions of the CAF-1 complex in these different organs. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.