Response of Compensatory-Fertilized Pinus sylvestris to Infection by Heterobasidion annosum
The effects of compensatory fertilization on the infection and growth rate of Heterobasidion annosum were studied in a 40-yr-old, naturally regenerated Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand in south-eastern Finland. The treatments were: (1) unfertilized control, (2) a compound fertilizer containing P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Cu, Zn and B, (3) as treatment 2 but with nitrogen, (4) as treatment 3 but with limestone, (5) a mixture of nitrogen and limestone composed on the basis of needle analysis, and (6) wood ash. Pine roots were inoculated on two occasions four and five growing seasons after fertilization using four different strains of the P type of H. annosum. Two years after inoculation, the fungus was alive in 28.9% of the 135 inoculated roots. Fungus survival was highest in the control trees (50%) and poorest in the treatments 2 and 3 (10.5% and 16.7%, respectively). These two treatments differed significantly from the control. Total mycelial extension during the 2-yr study period was 16.4, 2.1, 4.5, 18.1, 15.2 and 5.3 cm in treatments 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, respectively. Only treatment 2 differed significantly from the control (p < 0.05, df=23). The result suggests that the application of slow-release compound fertilizers without supplementary limestone may increase the resistance of Scots pine to infection by H. annosum. The nitrogen-free compound fertilizer may also retard the spread of annosum root rot in infected pine stands.