Three compartments differing in soil texture were established in 1994 to examine interspecific competition using Pinus banskiana Lamb. and 11 competitive species including Aster macrophyllus L. Each competitive species was established in six planting densities in combination
with P. banksiana. Since P. banksiana and A. macrophyllus are hosts of the pine needle rust (PNR) fungus, Coleosporium asterum (Diet.) Syd., conditions were inadvertently created for examining the effect of PNR on tree growth under interspecific competition. Tree
size was measured in 1995 and 1996. PNR was assessed in 1996 (incidence) and 1997 (severity). Pinus banksiana root collar diameter, stem length, and crown diameter were significantly lower in the loam soil texture compartment compared with the clay or sand compartments. Using the same
metrics, P. banksiana size was reduced as competitor density increased in 1995 and 1996, particularly for A. macrophyllus. Further, P. banksiana size was significantly reduced by PNR infection in 1996. Excluding the plots with A. macrophyllus, P. banksiana
infected in 1996 were significantly larger than disease-free trees in the clay and sand compartments, suggesting that larger trees may represent larger targets for spore deposition. In 1996, PNR incidence was significantly correlated with proximity to A. macrophyllus plots.
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