growth and survival of <i>Fraxinus excelsior</i> under the influence of <i>Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus</i>
The invasive fungal pathogen, Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus V. Queloz, has decimated stands of Fraxinus excelsior L. over most of the species' natural distribution area. We assessed crown damage from 2009 to 2014 (at ages 8, 11 and 13) in 43 open-pollinated ash families planted in north-eastern Zealand, Denmark, and confirmed the presence of substantial genetic variation in ash dieback susceptibility. The average crown damage increased in the trial from 61% in 2009 to 66% in 2012 and 72% in 2014, while the estimated heritability was 0.42 in both 2009 and 2012 but increased to 0.53 in 2014. Genetic correlation between assessments was 0.88 between 2009 and 2012 and 0.91 between 2009 and 2014, suggesting fairly good possibilities for early selection of superior genotypes in the presence of high infection levels in the trial. The level of crown damage had strong negative effect on growth and survival. Only 34% of the trees with high levels of damage in 2009 were still alive in 2014, emphasising that high susceptibility is associated with low fitness.
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2014, Vol 29, Issue 6, p. 519-526