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Cottonwood leaf beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) defoliation impact on Populus growth and above-ground volume in a short-rotation woody crop plantation

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1 The impact of cottonwood leaf beetle Chrysomela scripta F. defoliation on four plantation-grown Populus clones was examined over three growing seasons. We used a split-plot design with two treatments: protected (by insecticides) and an unprotected control. Tree height and diameter at 1 m were measured annually and above-ground volume was calculated.

2 Protected trees of most clones had grown over 2 m taller after three growing seasons. Diameter differences ranged from over 1–4 cm larger on protected trees. Insecticide protection increased above-ground volume over 20 dm3 in one clone, and at least 4 dm3 in all others. Chrysomela scripta defoliation resulted in a 50–73% loss of above-ground volume. Defoliation also resulted in increased lateral branching and forked terminals on unprotected trees.

3 Defoliation impact varied among clone. The pure Populus deltoides clone 91 × 04-03 showed the greatest growth response to chemical protection, whereas clone NM2 (P. nigra × P. maximowiczii) responded the least.

4Pest control is a key issue in short-rotation plantation management. Until adequate pest-resistant clones can be developed and natural enemy complexes better understood, chemical (biorational and organic) and cultural control may be used to reduce impacts of herbivorous pests.
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Keywords: Above-ground volume; Chrysomela scripta; Populus; chemical protection; defoliation impact; short-rotation forestry

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-11-01

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