Current issue: 54(2)
Since 1954 studies have been carried out by the Department of Plant Pathology of Agricultural Research Centre on occurrence of low-temperature parasitic fungi in nurseries in Finland. This paper reports analysis of the damage caused by the fungus to Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) seedlings.
In Southern and southwestern Finland, scarcely any damage caused by low-temperature parasitic fungi to coniferous seedlings was found. On the other hand, in Central, Eastern and Northern Finland, considerable injuries were present in the seedlings. The extent of damage varies between different localities and in a same location from year to year. The extent of damage is mostly dependent on snow cover which is heaviest in Central and Northern Finland. Damages are largest in wooded areas and in places where snow accumulates abundantly and remains until late in the spring.
The principal cause of winter damage to spruce seedlings is Hepotricia nigra (Hartig) which causes black snow mould. Depending on the amount of infestation, the damage can be limited to scattered groups or consist of large areas of dead seedlings. The fungus is unable to infect the plants during warm months of the growing season. The most damaging parasitic fungus in Scots pine is Phacidium infestans (Karst.) causing snow blight. The infestation varies from reddish-brown patches of infected seedlings to large areas of infected plants. Also, Botrytis cinerea has been determined from one- and two-year plants of pine and spruce.
In trials of chemical control by PCNB (pentachloronitrobenzene) gave nearly complete control of low-temperature parasitic fungi in one-year spruce seedlings. In addition, a compound of zineb (Dithane Z-78) gave similar results. Chemical control of the fungi is now common in the nurseries.
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