First evidence of genetic-based tolerance to red needle cast caused by Phytophthora pluvialis in radiata pine

Publication Type:

Journal Article


New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science, Volume 44, p.31 (2014)



BACKGROUND:Red needle cast (RNC) is a new needle disease of Pinus radiata D. Don (radiata pine) in New Zealand that is causing significant, but as-yet un-quantified, loss of growth and productivity. This foliar disease has recently been attributed to the infection of the needles by Phytophthora pluvialis Reeser, Sutton & E Hansen. Genetic improvement is seen as a possible solution to mitigate the effects of this needle disease on forest productivity.FINDINGS:To quantify the ability of genetics to provide a solution, RNC was assessed on a single clones-within-families genetics trial using two methods: the percentage needle cast that was attributable to red needle cast symptoms; and the percentage needle cast where the causal agent was not clearly identifiable. Both needle cast assessment methods were found to be heritable (h2 0.21-0.31).CONCLUSIONS:Selecting for tolerance to RNC is likely to deliver healthier trees. More assessments across a number of sites and seasons are required to confirm this result.