Current issue: 57(1)
Thekopsora areolata (Fr.) Magnus is a serious cone pathogen that reduces seed crop of Picea abies (L.) Karst. and other Picea spp. Natural sporulation of T. areolata was investigated in nine Norway spruce seed orchards suffering from severe successive T. areolata epidemics in Finland. Habitats occupied by Vaccinium myrtillus L., V. vitis-idaea L., Empetrum nigrum L. and Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull, and a number of other wild species belonging to ground flora were investigated for Thekopsora areolata uredinia 9–10 times in May–September 2018–2019. Occurrence of Thekopsora uredinia was estimated in current-year leaves of the plants in ca. 25 sample plots of 1 m2 in each seed orchard. A sample of plant leaves with rust uredinia or necrotic pustules were collected from each plot. No rust fruiting stages of T. areolata were found on any of the test species of ground flora. However, rust uredinia were observed regularly on leaves of V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea in all seed orchards between mid-July and the end of September. Rust sporulation started on V. myrtillus in July and on V. vitis-idaea in August. Based on symptoms, uredinia and spore morphology, the rust on both V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea was identified as blueberry rust, Naohidemyces vaccinii (Jørst.) S. Sato, Katsuya & Y. Hirats. ex Vanderwegen & Fraiture. The uredinial stage of the rust on Vaccinium spp. were described. No evidence of natural sporulation of T. areolata on wild plant species other than Prunus was observed in Finnish Norway spruce seed orchards.
Bark beetles are amongst the most aggressive pest agents of coniferous forests. Due to this, many boreal countries have designated laws aiming to lower the risk of bark beetle epidemics. Finland’s forest legislation has pre-emptive measures targeted against bark beetles, and for Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), the law concerns pine shoot beetles (Tomicus spp.). This study used data collected around 25 piles of Scots pine roundwood that were harvested in the winter but left in the forest until the following November. Thus, the pine shoot beetles were able to use the piles for breeding. We assessed the number of emerged insects from the piles and the cascading damage they caused in the surrounding forests. All roundwood piles, regardless of their volume, were used by the beetles for breeding. Highest densities of beetle exit holes were found from the parts of the log with thick and intact bark. If the bark of the log was damaged by the harvester head, the number of beetles decreased significantly. Depending on the volume of the roundwood pile, the cascading damage (fallen shoots) was noticeable up to ca. 40–60 m from the roundwood pile. Storing of piles smaller than 50 m3 did not cause excess damage. The number of fallen shoots per tree was generally below the known thresholds for when growth losses can occur. However, the study was conducted in mature forests, and it can be assumed that the recorded damage levels would severely affect the growth of young pines, raising the question of where to store the roundwood. As with other bark beetles, the role of Tomicus beetles as damage agents may change in the future, but based on this as well as past studies, the species can be viewed as a notable damage agents only around long-term wood storage sites in the current northern conditions.