Dothistroma needle blight (DNB), caused by Dothistroma septosporum, is the most important disease currently affecting pine plantations in Britain. Intraspecific variation in susceptibility to DNB has been observed in several pine species, but it is not clear if similar variation occurs in Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine), Britain's only native pine. In three separate experiments 2- and 3-year-old Scots pine saplings from six native Scottish populations were artificially inoculated with D. septosporum conidial suspensions and incubated under conditions optimal for disease development. Conidial suspensions were produced using a single isolate from northeast Scotland. In one experiment, plants were also treated with various spore suspension concentrations to assess the impact of inoculum load on disease severity. There were no significant interactions between host population, plant height, and experiment/inoculum load (anova, P > 0·05), but population, height and inoculum load all significantly affected disease severity (anova, P < 0·05). Among the 2-year-old trees, those from Amat were less susceptible than those from Glen Loyne and Glen Cannich (anova, P < 0·05). Among the 3-year-old trees, those from Beinn Eighe were less susceptible than those from Abernethy. Plant height and DNB susceptibility had a slightly negative relationship. The use of a spore suspension with a concentration of 1·6 × 106 spores mL−1 was optimum for disease development. In an in vitro experiment, production of conidia was greater when cultures were incubated in darkness. This paper is the first to report intraspecific variation in DNB susceptibility within Scots pine.
Bibliographical noteFunded by the Scottish Forestry Trust and the Forestry Commission and Forest Enterprise Scotland.
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- alien invasive species
- Dothistroma septosporum
- intraspecific variation