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Erythroneura lawsoni abundance and feeding injury levels are influenced by foliar nutrient status in intensively managed American sycamore

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• Abundance and feeding injury of the leafhopper Erythroneura lawsoni Robinson was measured in an intensively-managed American sycamore Platanus occidentalis L. plantation. Trees were planted in spring 2000 in a randomized complete block design, and received one of three annual treatments: (i) fertilization (120 kg N/ha/year); (ii) irrigation (3.0 cm/week); (iii) fertilization + irrigation; or (iv) control (no treatment).

• Foliar nutrient concentrations were significantly influenced by the treatments because only sulphur and manganese levels were not statistically greater in trees receiving fertilization.

• Over 116 000 E. lawsoni were captured on sticky traps during the study. Leafhopper abundance was highest on nonfertilized trees for the majority of the season, and was positively correlated with foliar nutrient concentrations. Significant temporal variation in E. lawsoni abundance occurred, suggesting five discrete generations in South Carolina.

• Significant temporal variation occurred in E. lawsoni foliar injury levels, with the highest injury ratings occurring in late June and August. Foliar injury was negatively correlated with foliar nutrient content, and higher levels of injury occurred more frequently on nonfertilized trees.

• The results obtained in the present study indicated that increased E. lawsoni abundance occurred on trees that did not receive fertilization. Nonfertilized trees experienced greater foliar injury, suggesting that lower foliar nutrient status may have led to increased levels of compensatory feeding.
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Keywords: Cicadellidae; Homoptera; Platanus occidentalis; leaf quality; micronutrients; nitrogen; sticky trap; temporal variation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-02-01

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