Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science and Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2P5, Canada, and Northern Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 5320-122 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 3S5, Canada
Temporal changes in three factors (shoot susceptibility, spore availability, and spore germinability) were evaluated to estimate their effects on the infection of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) by Endocronartium harknessii. Germinability of rust spores from sori free of hyperparasites remained above 80% during the growing season and thus would not have significantly limited infection. In contrast, there was a slight, but statistically insignificant, increase in estimated susceptibility as infection increased from 94% of maximum at 45% shoot elongation to maximum susceptibility at 90% shoot elongation. This was followed by a precipitous decline in estimated susceptibility to 57% of maximum when shoots were 95% elongated. Spore availability was 24% of maximum when shoots were 45% elongated, and thus may have been limiting at the beginning of the growing season. At the end of the growing season, spore availability declined prior to, or simultaneous with, the decline in susceptibility. The combined effect of both factors drastically reduced the number of infections estimated to occur once shoots are more than 95% elongated. As shoots elongated, relatively more infections formed higher on the shoot, supporting the hypothesis that periderm is important in limiting infection.