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Susceptibility of Sitka spruce and grand fir trees to decay by Heterobasidion annosum

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The susceptibility of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and grand fir (Abies grandis) to decay by Heterobasidion annosum was compared on a site with a previous history of serious disease. The incidence of decay 15–16 years after planting was 1.5% in grand fir, compared with 34.8% in Sitka spruce. These results are broadly similar to those reported from other trials. More information is required for older trees in Britain but the evidence so far available suggests that grand fir is more resistant to H. annosum than Sitka spruce. Planting grand fir on severely infested sites may therefore significantly reduce the serious losses that could be expected with Sitka spruce. In 14 out of 271 decayed Sitka spruce H. annosum was absent from the middle or base of the decay column but present at the top. Approximately 3% of infected spruce showed features suggesting some degree of resistance. Resin bleeding was observed at the base of 23.2% of the infected spruce, and the mean height of the decay column in these trees was significantly greater (0.96 m) than in those without this feature (0.66 m). The inoculum for infection was provided by stumps of the previous crop, and the genets of H. annosum that were present in some infected trees were also identified in stumps. The majority of infected trees contained only a single genet but three trees contained two genets. In this young crop individual genets were smaller than those found elsewhere; the largest extended to include six trees.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Forest Research, Forestry Commission, Northern Research Station, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9SY, UK.

Publication date: 01 February 2003

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