Effects of mass inoculation on induced oleoresin response in intensively managed loblolly pine
Oleoresin flow is an important factor in the resistance of pines to attack by southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis Zimm., and its associated fungi. Abiotic factors, such as nutrient supply and water relations, have the potential to modify this plant–insect–fungus interaction; however, little is known of the effects of inoculation with beetle-associate fungi on oleoresin flow.We observed that constitutive and induced resin yield in loblolly pine, Pinus taeda L., were affected by either fungal inoculation (with the southern pine beetle-associated fungus Ophiostoma minus (Hedgcock) H. & P. Sydow) or silvicultural treatment. The effects of mass wounding (400 wounds m–2) and mass wounding and inoculation with O. minus were assessed by comparison with untreated (control) trees. The treatments were applied to trees in a 2 × 2 factorial combination of fertilizer and irrigation treatments. Fertilization did not significantly affect constitutive resin yield. Even as long as 105 days post-treatment, however, mass-inoculated trees produced higher induced resin yields than control or wounded-only trees, indicating a localized induced response to fungal inoculation.We noted no systemic induction of host defenses against fungal colonization. Although beetles attacking previously attacked trees face a greater resinous response from their host than beetles attacking trees that had not been previously attacked, the effect of an earlier attack may not last more than one flight season. Despite mass inoculations, O. minus did not kill the host trees, suggesting that this fungus is not a virulent plant pathogen.
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