Department of Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1311.
A quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay was developed that could detect DNA of Rhabdocline pseudotsugae and R. oblonga among DNA of Douglas fir needles to a limit as low as three copies of target DNA. Differential infection rates of two varieties (seed sources) of Douglas fir interplanted in a field were studied in relation to staggered bud breaks. Infection of Douglas fir var. San Isabel corresponded to ascospore release times for Rhabdocline spp., whereas infection of var. Shuswap Lake did not occur throughout the spore release period during 2 years of study, despite abundant inoculum and adequate moisture during bud break. Rhabdocline spp. DNA was never detected in Shuswap Lake and disease symptoms were not observed in any year. We provide evidence that Shuswap Lake is resistant and probably immune to Rhabdocline spp. infection and Rhabdocline needlecast under Michigan conditions.