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A Climate-Based Model for Predicting Geographic Variation in Swiss Needle Cast Severity in the Oregon Coast Range

November 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  11
Pages  1,256 - 1,265

Daniel K. Manter , Paul W. Reeser , and Jeffrey K. Stone

First author: USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Soil-Plant-Nutrient Research Unit, Fort Collins, CO; and second and third authors: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis

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Accepted for publication 12 July 2005.

Since the early 1990s, Swiss needle cast disease caused by Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii has been increasing in Douglas-fir plantations in the Oregon Coast Range. Considerable variation in disease severity across the affected area often has been noted. We investigated the influence of site microclimate on fungal colonization as a basis for this variation with a combination of seedling inoculation and field studies. Development of P. gaeumannii ascocarps on inoculated seedlings subjected to mist, irrigation, and shading treatments was followed for 10 months. Contrary to expectations, numbers of ascocarps on foliage were negatively correlated with shade and mist and positively correlated with temperature. Numbers of ascocarps on foliage, site temperature, and leaf wetness were monitored over 5 years at nine field sites in the Oregon Coast Range. Factors most highly correlated with ascocarp abundance were winter mean daily temperature and spring cumulative leaf wetness. Predictive models for disease severity on the basis of these correlations were tested against disease and climate data measured at field sites during 2003-2004. A temperature-based disease prediction model was developed in combination with geographical information systems (GIS)-linked climate databases to estimate disease levels across a portion of the Oregon Coast Range. This model can be used for hypothesis testing and as a decision support tool for forest managers.

Additional keywords: climate change , Douglas-fir , epidemiology , fungal pathogen , modeling

The American Phytopathological Society, 2005