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Incidence of Phytophthora species in oak forests in Austria and their possible involvement in oak decline

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A survey on the occurrence of Phytophthora species in oak ecosystems in Austria was conducted from April to May 1999 and in June 2000. The investigations were carried out at 35 study sites distributed throughout the zone of oak forests in eastern Austria. Four oak species, including Quercus robur, Q. petraea, Q. cerris and Q. pubescens were considered in the survey. Rhizosphere soil samples were taken from sample trees, which consisted of healthy and declining trees as indicated by their crown transparency. Young oak leaflets were used as baits to recover Phytophthora species. The assemblage of Phytophthora spp. detected in Austrian oak forests consisted of five species, including Phytophthora quercina, P. citricola, P. gonapodyides, P. europaea and P. syringae. P. quercina and P. citricola were isolated from 11 and seven sites, respectively, and were thus the most common and most widely distributed species. The three other species were recovered only sporadically. P. citricola could be separated into two morphologically and genetically well-characterized types (A and B). Phytophthora species, in particular the common P. quercina and P. citricola occurred on sites showing a wide variety of soil types, soil textures and moisture classes. There was mild evidence for connection between deteriorating crown status and the presence of Phytophthora spp. Furthermore, significant differences in contents of magnesium, as well as calcium, aluminium, nitrogen and carbon at different soil depths (0–10, 10–20 and 20–40 cm) were detected between Phytophthora-infested and Phytophthora-free sites. The results of the present study provide circumstantial evidence that Phytophthora species are involved in oak decline at certain sites in Austria.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest Protection (IFFF), BOKU -- University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna; Hasenauerstra├če 38, A-1190, Vienna, Austria;

Publication date: 01 June 2003

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