Susceptibility of walnut and hickory species to Geosmithia morbida.
Thousand cankers disease (TCD) of walnut is a result of feeding in the phloem by the walnut twig beetle (WTB), Pityophthorus juglandis, and subsequent canker formation caused by Geosmithia morbida around galleries. TCD has caused extensive morbidity and mortality to Juglans nigra in the western United States and, in 2010, was discovered in the eastern United States, where the tree is a highly valuable timber resource. WTB and G. morbida also have been found in J. regia orchards throughout major production areas in California, and the numbers of damaged trees are increasing. We tested the susceptibility of walnut and hickory species to G. morbida in greenhouse and field studies. Carya illinoinensis, C. aquatica, and C. ovata were immune. All walnut species tested, including J. ailantifolia, J. californica, J. cinerea, J. hindsii, J. major, J. mandshurica, J. microcarpa, J. nigra, and J. regia, developed cankers following inoculation with G. morbida. J. nigra was the most susceptible, whereas J. major, a native host of the WTB and, presumably, G. morbida, had smaller and more superficial cankers. Canker formation differed among maternal half-sibling families of J. nigra and J. cinerea, indicating genetic variability in resistance to G. morbida. Our inoculation studies with G. morbida have corroborated many of the field observations on susceptibility of walnut and hickory species to TCD, although the ability of the WTB to successfully attack and breed in walnut is also an important component in TCD resistance.