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Factors that affect compartmentalization and wound closure of

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The mechanisms by which hardwood trees resist invasion by native wood borers are still poorly understood.

We examined the importance of several host, herbivore and environmental variables in relation to Quercus rubra L., northern red oak, resistance to a native cerambycid, Enaphalodes rufulus (Haldeman) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), the red oak borer.

We employed tree‐ring techniques to date and measure two indicators of host tree physical resistance, vertical lesion size and wound closure of scars left by larval galleries, within 107 Q. rubra hosts from eight sites within the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests of Arkansas.

Host Q. rubra decline status proved a valuable predictor of resistance, wherein healthy trees exhibited better compartmentalization capacity, as indicated by shorter lesions and faster wound closure, than declining trees and those that died during a recent E. rufulus outbreak.

Only healthy Q. rubra exhibited a significant declining lesion length trend from 1988 to 2006 and were likely able to re‐allocate resources in favour of maintaining resistance as the feeding pressure from borers increased and then relaxed post‐outbreak.

Variables related to borer feeding pressure consistently explained more variation in lesion length than host or environmental variables. Hosts were better able to compartmentalize injury from small, unsuccessful E. rufulus galleries than large, successful galleries from which larvae survived to adulthood.

Healthy Q. rubra, as survivors of the recent outbreak, were able to effectively tolerate feeding pressure from borers at the same time as sustaining growth and maintenance. Tolerance may be an important resistance mechanism for hardwood hosts against the native wood borers that attack them.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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