Pathogenicity of fungi associated with ash dieback symptoms of one-year-old Fraxinus excelsior in Montenegro.
In addition to Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, two fungi identified as Diaporthe eres aff. and Fusarium sambucinum aff. were also isolated from necrotic bark lesions on declining one-year-old Fraxinus excelsior in a forest stand in Montenegro. To examine their involvement in ash decline, a pathogenicity test was performed using under bark inoculations on one-year-old Fraxinus excelsior. Hymenoscyphus fraxineus was included as comparison. All three fungal species proved highly pathogenic towards one-year-old seedlings although lesion sizes differed significantly between the different species. Hymenoscyphus fraxineus was most aggressive, followed by F. sambucinum aff., while D. eres aff. caused the smallest lesions. This study demonstrates for the first time the ability of isolates in the D. eres and F. sambucinum species complexes to cause decline on one-year-old common ash seedlings.