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Bacterial wilt and boron deficiency stress: A new disorder in eucalypt plantations in south China

Dell, B. and Xu, D. (2006) Bacterial wilt and boron deficiency stress: A new disorder in eucalypt plantations in south China. Chinese Forestry Science and Technology, 5 (1). pp. 45-50.


This paper reports on a new disorder that first appeared in eucalypt plantations in south China in 2003. The plantations were destructively sampled near Zeizhou, Yanxi, Kaiping and Gaoyao in September to December 2003. Whilst some 5% of 0.5 to 1.5 year-old Eucalyptus urophylla trees declined rapidly and exhibited symptoms of wilting, the majority of the affected trees declined slowly and exhibited two foliar symptoms. Young leaves initially developed an interveinal chlorosis extending from the leaf margin inwards to the midrib. Most leaves then developed pockets of necrotic tissue that became bleached but typically had brown margins. The former symptoms have been recognised as being caused by limited boron supply in soil but the latter symptoms have not been previously observed in eucalypts in China. Inorganic analysis showed that the leases with the latter symptoms had deficient B concentrations whereas the leaves from healthy trees had adequate B concentrations. Bacterial wilt, Ralstonia solanacearum, was present at all sites where foliar symptoms and tree death were present. The root system of all trees with foliar chlorosis and necrosis had signs of infection in some roots and attrition of lateral roots. The trunk and branches of the recently died trees and the trees with advanced leaf drop had discoloured xylem, which on cutting, oozed bacterial slime. Possible relationships between root damage caused by abiotic (e.g. typhoons, root damage from hand weeding) and biotic factors and reduced B uptake are discussed. Recommendations are made for reducing bacterial wilt disease and improving B management in fast-growing short-rotation eucalypt plantations.

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
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