Swiss needle cast (SNC), a foliar disease specific to Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii
), is caused by an endemic Ascomycete fungus (Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii
). In the late 1980s and early 1990s significant symptoms began to appear in coastal Oregon, and these have been associated with the planting of Douglas-fir in the Sitka spruce zone, leaf wetness during potential spore dispersal in May–August, and mild winter temperature. The first annual aerial survey was initiated in 1996 and has continued through 2015, which indicates a significant increase in area of visible symptoms from the air, increasing from 53,050 ha in 1996 to 238,705 ha in 2015. Monitoring plots in the NW Oregon Coast Range verified impacts of SNC on tree growth and productivity, with growth reductions averaging about 23% in the epidemic area linked to needle retention. A series of monitoring plots was set up in the western Cascade Mountains of Oregon and 590 10–23-year old Douglas-fir trees in 59 stands were tracked for 10 years, measured in 2001, 2006, and 2011. No measureable growth impacts were noted in this region of Oregon. A new plot network is being installed throughout the Oregon and southwest Washington coastal ranges as a means of monitoring future disease impact and providing framework for additional studies.
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