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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biology, Epidemiology and Management of Vector-Borne Viruses of Sugarbeet and Vegetable Crops

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Title: Birch Diseases in Alaska

item Robertson, Nancy
item Winton, Loretta

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2012
Publication Date: 2/1/2013
Citation: Robertson, N.L., Winton, L. 2013. Birch diseases in Alaska. In: FS-R10-FHP. Forest Health Conditions in Alaska 2012. Publication R10-PR-32. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Region. p. 32-33.

Interpretive Summary: A decline in the health of birch trees in northern forests of North America has been reported in recent years. Since 2005, birch trees with branch dieback, drought stress, and an overall decline are commonly found in South Central and Interior Alaska. In 2012, large “brooms” (abnormal proliferation of branches and leaves) were observed on birch in the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest near Fairbanks. Additional virus-like leaf symptoms of oak-leaf and line-banding patterns, ringspots, and mottling were also noticeable. Leaves were sampled and molecularly assayed using the polymerase chain reaction technique for detection of plant viruses and phytoplasmas. Results were negative for phytoplasmas and positive for a plant virus that belongs to the genus Ilarvirus. The definitive viral species identity needs to be elucidated with further sequencing. This is one of the few studies for virus detection in Alaskan forests. Plant viruses are known to cause disease and loss on ornamental and fruit trees throughout the world. The role that plant viruses have on birch decline and other forest trees in Alaska has not been established.

Technical Abstract: No technical abstract.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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