Current issue: 54(2)
Ascocalyx abietina (now Gremmeniella abietina Lagerb.) infects Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) by means of ascospores or conidia. Ascospores are dispersed by the wind, while the conidia are splash dispersed. The infection rate is positively correlated with the number of inocula. The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which G. abietina spreads to the trees surrounding the diseased trees and to find the correct time to perform sanitation cutting.
The results were obtained from Ascocalyx-inventory carried out in a Scots pine progeny test at Loppi, Southern Finland. Three Siberian provenances were totally destroyed, while the Finnish progenies remained relatively healthy. The two rows adjacent to the destroyed plots were inventoried separately.
There were 29.7% more diseased or dead trees in the two adjacent rows than in the rest of the same plots. The difference was statistically significant. The trees had probably been infected by conidia, because the effect of the destroyed plot only extended to the adjacent two rows. Furthermore, pycnidia had mainly developed on the dead shoots.
On the basis of the life cycle of the fungus and the results, the correct time to carry out sanitation cutting is the first winter after the disease symptoms have appeared. If it is done later, the disease could be spread and bark beetles (Tomicus spp.) could propagate in dying trees. Susceptible provenances may spread the disease to surrounding resistant trees owing to the increasing number of spores.
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