, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1599–1605 | Cite as

Sap flow-based quantitative indication of progression of Dutch elm disease after inoculation with Ophiostoma novo-ulmi

  • Josef UrbanEmail author
  • Miloň Dvořák
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Long Distance Transport: Phloem and Xylem


Key message

The rate of progression of Dutch elm disease can be continuously and quantitatively estimated from sap flow measurements.


Response of sap flow to inoculation with Ophiostoma novo-ulmi, a causal agent which causes vascular mycosis called Dutch elm disease, was studied in a field experiment comprised of 4-year-old wych elm trees (Ulmus glabra). Sap flow was measured on inoculated trees using the trunk heat balance method with external heating (EMS 62, Czech Republic) throughout the experiment. The first detectable symptoms of reduction in sap flow occurred 6 days after inoculation and all inoculated trees died within 16 days. Our experiment confirmed the ability of O. novo-ulmi to quickly kill young elm trees. The disease progressed faster than in previous experiments utilizing O. ulmi. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first experiment using sap flow measurements on trees inoculated by O. novo-ulmi. The trunk heat balance sap flow method is an effective non-invasive tool for continuous quantitative monitoring of the progression of vascular tree diseases, and show increased potential for field and greenhouse studies on changes in xylem hydraulic conductivity in a wide range of broadleaved and coniferous tree species.


Dutch elm disease Sap flow occlusion Elm dieback Xylem dysfunction Xylem hydraulic conductivity Trunk heat balance method 



This research was supported by projects COST LD 13017 under the framework of the COST FP1106 network STReESS, OPVK CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0265 and OPVK CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0017–Investments in Education Development co-financed by the European Social Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic. The authors wish to thank Ryan Thomas Clark for his detailed work on the language editing of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forest Botany, Dendrology and Geobiocenology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Forest Protection and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic

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