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Lophodermium needle cast, insect defoliation and growth responses of young Scots pines in Estonia

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Using a retrospective approach, based on historical needle cast disease and insect pest records, data series of needle losses (reconstructed by the use of the needle trace method), tree growth parameters and meteorological data were studied to determine the impact of the appropriate pointer (epidemic or calamity) years on the annual radial and height increment of 46 sample trees in six Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) stands in Estonia from 1887 to 2006. First, the needle cast epidemics during the last 120 years were retrospectively determined, with resulting 4.6 epidemics per decade as a mean frequency. If the sum of precipitation from May to August reached 300 mm (the mean of 12 epidemic years studied: 361 ± 15 mm), an epidemic of needle cast caused by Lophodermium seditiosum might follow the next year in young plantations. For insect defoliators, similarly clear triggering threshold values of precipitation or temperature could not be determined, although dry and warm summers and mild winters supported the calamities. We separately detected that both larger needle losses and growth reductions in trees related to Lophodermium needle cast epidemic years lasted until the same age of pines, 22–24 years, but for insect pest (diprinoid sawflies) calamity years the growth reduction lasted longer. The relevance of these findings for the prediction of Lophodermium needle cast epidemics is briefly discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, F.R. Kreutzwaldi, 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia

Publication date: April 1, 2012


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