Susceptibility of the Quercus rubra root system to Phytophthora cinnamomi; comparison with chestnut and other oak species



The susceptibility of oak seedlings (Quercus palustris, Quercus robur, Quercus rubra) and chestnut seedlings (Castanea sativa) to Phytophthora cinnamomi was tested. The dynamics of infection was examined in plant material raised in a rhizotron. In the oak species, primary root tissues were susceptible whereas secondary cortical tissues showed some resistance to P. cinnamomi. Secondary cortical tissues of the tap root in C. sativa were susceptible. Inoculations with P. cinnamomi were performed both in situ and on excised roots of mature Q. rubra. In both cases, the resistance of Q. rubra roots and shoots was negatively correlated with diameter at the inoculation point. Small roots (l–5-cm diameter) were resistant, whereas collar and trunk were susceptible. In contrast to oak, small excised roots of mature C. sativa (0.7–2-cm diameter) were susceptible to P. cinnamomi. This may explain why P. cinnamomi does not induce a decline of the attacked oaks, but rather a trunk canker.