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Environ Pollut. 2007 May;147(1):101-11. Epub 2006 Oct 16.

Spatial relationships between nitrogen status and pitch canker disease in slash pine planted adjacent to a poultry operation.

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Department of Soil and Water Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


Pitch canker disease (Fusarium circinatum Nirenberg & O'Donnell) causes serious shoot dieback, reduced growth and mortality in pines found in the southern and western USA, and has been linked to nutrient imbalances. Poultry houses with forced-air ventilation systems produce nitrogen (N) emissions. This study analyzed spatial correlations between pitch canker disease and foliar, forest floor, soil, and throughfall N in a slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii Engelm.) plantation adjacent to a poultry operation in north Florida, USA. Tissue and throughfall N concentrations were highest near the poultry houses and remained elevated for 400 m. Disease incidence ranged from 57-71% near the poultry houses and was spatially correlated with N levels. Similarly, stem mortality ranged from 41-53% in the most heavily impacted area, and declined to 0-9% at distances greater than 400 m. These results suggest that nutritional processes exacerbate changes in disease susceptibility and expression in slash pine.

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