Needles infected by the fungus Dothistroma septosporum suffer from a disease known as Dothistroma Needle Blight (DNB). Affected needles produce spores which spread the disease and also are shed prematurely. Fallen leaves and plant debris are known to be a significant source of inoculum in a number of plant diseases. This project aims to find out if this is the case with DNB.
- Determine how long D. septosporum is able to survive in fallen needles on the forest floor
- Determine how long D. septosporum is able to survive in fallen needles caught in the forest canopy
- Investigate the whether certain genotypes are able to persist for longer in fallen needles than others.
- Investigate the role of weather conditions on persistence of the fungus in fallen needles.
Results so far
Dothistroma septosporum is not suited to life in fallen needles, its survival rapidly declines once needles are shed from a tree. The fungus survives longer in fallen needles caught in the canopy than in fallen needles on the forest floor. This is likely due to the increased humidity on the forest floor, which accelerates decay. However, the fungus was able to survive eight months in fallen needles both in the canopy and on the forest floor, albeit at very low levels.
Work on the local persistence of D. septosporum began in February 2010 and is due to be completed by March 2015.
To report a finding of Dothistroma to Forest Research scientists please use TreeAlert
Pests and diseases: Dothistroma needle blight
Funders and Partners
Funded as part of the Forestry Commission Advice and Scientific Support for Tree Health Programme
Forestry Commission policy
This research underpins the evidence base for the delivery of healthy and resilient forests and wider ecosystems which is part of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan