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Forests 2016, 7(2), 41; doi:10.3390/f7020041

Development of Ash Dieback in South-Eastern Germany and the Increasing Occurrence of Secondary Pathogens

Bavarian State Institute of Forestry, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 1, 85354 Freising, Germany
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Academic Editors: Jan Stenlid, Jonas Oliva and Audrius Menkis
Received: 1 October 2015 / Revised: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 3 February 2016 / Published: 15 February 2016
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Abstract

Since its first identification in Poland in 2006, the ascomycete Hymenoscyphus fraxineus has caused massive dieback of Fraxinus excelsior in the countries of eastern, northern and central Europe. This work shows the development, expansion, and severity of the disease in south-eastern Germany for a period of four years, starting in 2010. Differences between habitats, as well as age classes have been captured. The presence and the amount of potentially resistant trees were proven over the years, to determine how high the resistance level might be. Typical disease symptoms are the wilting of leaves, necrotic lesions in the bark and reddish discolorations of branches and stems. In addition, stem necroses also appear by infection with species of Armillaria. Therefore, special attention has been given to Armillaria species in affected ash stands but also to other secondary pathogens, like ash bark beetles. It is shown that breeding galleries of Hylesinus fraxini are only found in trees that have recently died and thus Hylesinus fraxini is still acting as a secondary opportunistic pathogen. In contrast, Armillaria spp. can be considered as serious pathogens of weakened ash trees. In different ash stands, typical symptoms of infection can be found. A relationship between stem base necrotic lesions and vitality was examined. It is shown that necrotic lesions severely contribute to accelerating the mortality of ash trees. In addition to the high infection pressure by H. fraxineus, the high inoculum of Armillaria in the soil facilitates further infections and, thus, likewise endangers the survival of potentially resistant trees. In the following years, forest conversion and seed harvest in affected ash stands will have to be urgently considered to avoid tree gaps on a large scale. Furthermore, infection assays of potentially resistant trees with ensuing breeding programmes should be initially started for the conservation of this ecologically and economically important tree species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fraxinus excelsior; ash dieback; ash bark beetles; Armillaria spp.; stem discoloration; forest decline Fraxinus excelsior; ash dieback; ash bark beetles; Armillaria spp.; stem discoloration; forest decline
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lenz, H.D.; Bartha, B.; Straßer, L.; Lemme, H. Development of Ash Dieback in South-Eastern Germany and the Increasing Occurrence of Secondary Pathogens. Forests 2016, 7, 41.

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