First author: INRA-Bordeaux; and second author: UMR Santé Végétale, Unité de Bioclimatologie, BP81, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon cedex, France
Epidemiological investigations were performed in a 3-ha maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) plantation established on a site heavily infested by Armillaria ostoyae. Geostatistics were used to examine the density and the distribution of the initial inoculum. Disease dynamics were monitored for 17 years after planting. On the whole site, the cumulative mortality rate reached 35% over this period, plateauing at 12 years. Disease progress curves differed according to the density of the initial inoculum, although in all the cases, the Gompertz model described the epidemics well. The epidemiological contributions of both primary (initially colonized stumps) and secondary inoculum (newly dead pines) were evaluated by analyzing their spatial relation to annual mortality. Newly dead pines acted as secondary inoculum from year 3 and their role increased with time. When the initial inoculum density was low, the contribution of secondary inoculum to epidemic development increased faster and halted sooner than when the density of primary inoculum was high. Regardless of its density, the primary inoculum acted throughout the dynamic phase of the epidemic. When the inoculum density was low, the probability of mortality during the first 6 years of the epidemic depended on the tree distance from the nearest stumps colonized by Armillaria sp. When the inoculum density was high, the probability of mortality was higher and not related to the distance between trees and colonized stumps.