Current issue: 56(2)
Under compilation: 56(3)
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.
The alternate host range of cherry-spruce rust is poorly studied although such information could be important in protecting spruce seed orchards from infections. Pathogenicity of cherry-spruce rust, Thekopsora areolata (Fr.) Magnus, was investigated on potential alternate host species in a greenhouse and in a laboratory in Finland. Five common species of Ericaceae, Vaccinium myrtillus L., V. uliginosum L., V. vitis-idaea L., Empetrum nigrum L. and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng, were inoculated in the greenhouse using aeciospores from seven Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.] seed orchards suffering from T. areolata in 2018. In addition, young detached leaves of Vaccinium spp. and 17 other plant species of ground vegetation from eight Norway spruce seed orchards were inoculated with aeciospores from six seed orchards in the laboratory in 2019. Also, young leaves of Prunus padus L. trees growing within the seed orchards or close to them were inoculated as controls. None of the inoculated leaves of the potential alternate hosts formed uredinia either in the greenhouse or in the laboratory. In contrast, leaves of P. padus from the seed orchards were infected by the six spore sources from six seed orchards and produced uredinia. As T. areolata spores were able to infect only P. padus, but not the other tested species belonging to ground flora, it was concluded that T. areolata disperses only via Prunus spp. in Finnish seed orchards.
Cherry-spruce rust caused by Thekopsora areolata (Fr.) Magnus is a serious cone pathogen of Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.]. The rust causes great economical losses in seed orchards specialized in the production of high quality seeds. Germination range of T. areolata aeciospores from rust populations (spore sources) in seven Finnish Norway spruce seed orchards was tested on water agar and malt agar at nine temperatures varying between 6–30 °C. The temperature range of spore germination was high varying between 6 °C and 27 °C, while germination was retarded at 30 °C. The peak in germination rate of all spore sources occurred between 15–24 °C. In a model with fixed effects of agar media, temperature and spore source, temperature had the most significant effect on germination. Spore source had a less significant effect, while agar media had a non-significant effect on germination. The rust was able to germinate at low temperatures corresponding to temperatures when the thermal growing season starts at 5 °C in the spring. As spores from cones from both the spruce canopy and the ground showed very similar germination ranges, it indicated the great capacity of all spores of the rust to germinate early in the spring. Hot temperatures with over 30 °C drastically reduced germination of the rust.