New Forests

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 443–456 | Cite as

The tolerance of Pinus patula × Pinus tecunumanii, and other pine hybrids, to Fusarium circinatum in greenhouse trials

  • R. G. MitchellEmail author
  • M. J. Wingfield
  • G. R. Hodge
  • E. T. Steenkamp
  • T. A. Coutinho


The field survival of Pinus patula seedlings in South Africa is frequently below acceptable standards. From numerous studies it has been determined that this is largely due to the pitch canker fungus, Fusarium circinatum. Other commercial pines, such as P. elliottii and P. taeda, show good tolerance to this pathogen and better survival, but have inferior wood properties and do not grow as well as P. patula on many sites in the summer rainfall regions of South Africa. There is, thus, an urgent need to improve the tolerance of P. patula to F. circinatum. Operational experience indicates that when P. patula is hybridized with tolerant species, such as P. tecunumanii and P. oocarpa, survival is greatly improved on the warmer sites of South Africa. Field studies on young trees suggest that this is due to the improved tolerance of these hybrids to F. circinatum. In order to test the tolerance of a number of pine hybrids, the pure species representing the hybrid parents, as well as individual families of P. patula × P. tecunumanii, a series of greenhouse screening trials were conducted during 2008 and 2009. The results indicated that species range in tolerance and hybrids, between P. patula and these species, are intermediate in tolerance to F. circinatum. Within P. patula × P. tecunumanii, large family variation exists when pollen from the high elevation source of P. tecunumanii is used. The results of these studies illustrate the importance of developing pine hybrid breeding programs to overcome the susceptibility of our pure species to pathogens such as F. circinatum.


Forestry Disease tolerance Hybrids Greenhouse screening 



We wish to thank, in particular, Komatiland Forests for providing the seed and incurring the costs involved in raising and screening the plant material. We also thank Bernice Porter who coordinated much of the screening activities at the University of Pretoria and ensured that plants were watered in the greenhouse. Lastly, we thank the members of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and the THRIP initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Mitchell
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. J. Wingfield
    • 2
  • G. R. Hodge
    • 3
  • E. T. Steenkamp
    • 2
  • T. A. Coutinho
    • 2
  1. 1.York TimbersSabieSouth Africa
  2. 2.Forests and Agricultural Biotechnology InstituteUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.CamcoreNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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