The effect of defoliation by Cameraria ohridella Deschka and Dimic (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) on seed germination and seedling vitality in Aesculus hippocastanum L.
The effects of defoliation by the leaf mining moth Cameraria ohridella on seed germination were studied in Aesculus hippocastanum in a cultivar plantation in Greece. Seedling vitality and survival were also examined in a 2-year experiment. Although C. ohridella infestation had a negative effect on seed fresh weight, seeds from infested trees presented higher field germination and germinated earlier than the seeds from non-infested trees. Seedlings of seeds from infested trees presented lower total height than those of seeds from non-infested trees in both years of the experiment. Moreover, in the first year of the experiment, the seedlings coming from infested trees presented lower values in all vitality parameters (shoot dry weight, root dry weight, overall dry biomass, shoot length, total length, root collar diameter, diameter at 5 cm above root collar) except for the root length and the number of buds. In the second year of the experiment, the only vitality parameter that did not have lower value was the number of buds. Finally, seedlings survival did not show significant differences between the ones coming from infested and those from non-infested trees in both years of the experiment.