Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Armillaria species distribution on symptomatic hosts in northern hardwood and mixed oak forests in western Massachusetts.

Abstract

Armillaria spp. are some of the most important forest pathogens in mixed hardwood forests of southern New England, yet their role as prominent disturbance agents is still not fully appreciated. We investigated the distribution of Armillaria species across eight separate stands of northern hardwood and mixed oak forests in western Massachusetts. We were specifically interested in the Armillaria species distribution from live, symptomatic hosts and not in determining overall incidence in the forest. From 32 plots (16 within each forest type), 320 isolates were collected. Armillaria was routinely encountered causing disease of live trees. In total, 89% (286/320) of all isolations came from live hosts exhibiting symptoms of root and butt rot. Overall, A. gallica was the dominant species in each forest type, making up 88/160 (55%) isolates from northern hardwood and 153/160 (96%) of all isolations from mixed oak stands. However, northern hardwood forests showed much greater species diversity, as A. calvescens, A. gemina, A. ostoyae, and A. sinapina were all found. At one site, a northern hardwood forest surrounding a high elevation spruce-fir forest, A. ostoyae was the most abundant species encountered. All five Armillaria species were found causing disease of live hosts, including A. gemina, a species considered by some as weakly virulent. Armillaria gallica was found on 22/23 tree species' sampled, and was found most often causing butt rot.