Effects of fertilization of four hemlock species on Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) growth and feeding preference of predators.
Understanding how fertilization affects host resistance to hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae Annand (Hemiptera:Adelgidae), is important because fertilizers are often used to grow resistant selections to a suitable size for testing. We evaluated four hemlock species (Tsuga) under three different fertilizer regimes to assess whether fertility affected resistance to the adelgid and to determine whether it affected feeding preferences of the adelgid predators Laricobius nigrinus Fender and Sasajiscymnus tsugae (Sasaji & McClure).Treatmentswere long-termfertilization (fromJune 2008 to June 2009), short-term fertilization (from March to June 2009), and no fertilizer. Fertilizer was applied biweekly with 240 ppm N by using water-soluble fertilizer (N-P-K, 20:20:20). Plants (>1 yr old) were artiÞcially infested with adelgids on 31 March 2009. Among unfertilized hemlocks (n = 10 per species), foliar N was highest in Tsuga mertensiana (Bong.) Carriere and lowest in T. chinensis (Franch.) E. Pritz. Significantly more progredien ovisacs or sisten eggs were present on T. mertensiana than on the other hemlock species with none on unfertilized T. chinensis. A. tsugae adults on T. heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg. were unaffected by fertility, but densities of developing A. tsugae nymphs were higher on unfertilized T. heterophylla plants than on fertilized T. heterophylla plants regardless of fertilizer treatment. Both L. nigrinus and S. tsugae consumed more adelgid eggs that developed on fertilized T. canadensis than from unfertilized plants. The predators did not exhibit this preference for adelgid eggs from females that developed on T. heterophylla or T. mertensiana.