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IEFC - Forest pests and diseases - Consult - Euc-F-2
Common Forest Pests and Diseases in Europe - Euc-F-2

Eucalyptus white rot

Phellinus torulosus (Basidiomycota, Aphyllophorales).
synonyms: Fomes torulosus, Polyporus torulosus.

Host tree

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus), chestnuts (Castanea), oaks (Quercus), poplars (Populus) and also on many other broad-leaved trees.

Identification

  • Trees exhibit poor growth, defoliation and dieback of the branches and apexes.
  • Presence of large fruiting bodies (carpophores) at the base of the tree trunk. At first they are yellow in colour, latter brown; they are variable in form (Photo 1). These perennial fruiting bodies may persist and enlarge for many years (Photo 2).
  • Infected heartwood often shows a spongy whitish rot (Photo 3).
  • Roots can also be affected.

Damage

  • Heartwood decay causes reduction of timber quality.
  • Infected trees can survive many years, but the decay predisposes the trees to breakage.

Biology

  • When the wood is highly affected, the fungus produces large sexual fruiting bodies at the base of the tree trunk (carpophores).
  • Spores are spread from mature carpophores.
  • All over the year, the spores of P. torulosus enter the tree through wounds at the base of the trunk.
  • Once within the tree the fungus grows mainly in the heartwood and in the roots.
  • Trees can survive for some years, but the fungus progressively invades the wood causing decay and rot root.

Risk factors

  • Older trees are more susceptible to damage by this fungus.

Pest management

Preventive measurements

  • Avoidance of wounding during silvicultural operations.
  • On trees with ornamental value, the wounds must be protected with mastic such as copper-based formulations.

Curative control

  • There are no fungicides registered against this disease in Portugal, Spain or France.
Photo 1: Fruiting body of Phellinus torulosus at the base of a eucalyptus.
Photo 2: Large perennial fruiting bodies of Phellinus torulosus.
Photo 3: Cross section of infected heartwood with whitish rot.

Illustrations : Photo 1, 2 & 4: F. Cataeno: 3: I. Melo.


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