Top shoot dieback on Norway spruce seedlings associated with Gremmeniella and Phomopsis
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In spring 2002, extensive damage was recorded in southeast Norway on nursery-grown Norway spruce seedlings that had either wintered in nursery cold storage or had been planted out in autumn 2001. The damage was characterised by a top shoot dieback. Two visually distinct types of necroses were located either on the upper or lower part of the 2001-year-shoot. Isolations from the upper stem necroses rendered Gremmeniella abietina, while Phomopsis sp. was isolated mostly from the lower stem necroses. RAMS (random amplified microsatellites) profiling indicated that the G. abietina strains associated with diseased nursery seedlings belonged to LTT (large-tree type) ecotype,and inoculation tests confirmed their pathogenicity on Norway spruce seedlings. Phomopsis sp. was not pathogenic in inoculation tests, this implying it may be a secondary colonizer. We describe here the Gremmeniella – associated shoot dieback symptoms on Norway spruce seedlings and conclude that the unusual disease outburst was related to the Gremmeniella epidemic caused by the LTT ecotype on large Scots pines in 2001. The role of Phomopsis sp. in the tissue of diseased Norway spruce seedlings is yet unclear.