Associations among symptoms of dieback in even-aged stands of ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.)

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Summary

The objective of this study was to establish statistically based associations among macroscopic symptoms of crown dieback, cankers due to Chalara fraxinea, and symptoms caused by other pathogens and pests on Fraxinus excelsior. A total of 454 trees were observed in two plots of a 15-year-old experimental stand. The symptoms included: (i) overall extent of crown dieback; (ii) dieback of upper parts of the crown; (iii) canker in upper parts of the crown; (iv) wilting foliage; (v) cankers and bark proliferations at the lower part of the stem; and (vi) discolouration at stump or stem base. The analysis suggested that the observed symptoms of crown dieback are caused by a primary disease. The macroscopic symptoms attributed to dieback and canker in the crown were strongly associated. Moreover, the disease was associated with symptoms of Armillaria gallica, but no associations were found for symptoms of Neonectria galligena, Pseudomonas syringae subsp. savastanoi pv. fraxini, Hylesinus fraxini or H. varius when considered collectively. Dieback was more frequent on trees of average or below-average size, suggesting that individual tree resistance decreased with decreasing growth potential or tree vigour. The extent of canker in the crown depended on site conditions and possibly on silvicultural practices. The development of phytosanitary prescriptions for silviculture should primarily be targeted towards young stands as these represent the most critical phases of stand development.

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