- Centro di Ricerca Foreste e Legno   
Strada per Frassineto 35 Casale Monferrato (AL)  
Passa alla versione italiana 
You are here: Home->ActivitiesPlant Diseases and Pest Control
Plant Diseases and Pest Control

In brief .....
The biology of the main plant parasites of poplar and willow is studied in order to identify defence strategies which are the most effective and of least environmental impact. Particular attention is devoted to host-parasite interaction, and to the resistance mechanisms which regulate this in cultivated poplar clones and in clones under selection.
The epidemiology of the most dangerous diseases of poplar is monitored and studied in order to control the spread and incidence of those already extant in the territory and to timely detect the introduction of new undesirable agents.Studies are carried out on the phytosanitary aspects of arboriculture for wood production with particular attention to plantations established with walnut and cherry.
The possibilities of using new molecular fungicide, insecticide and weed killing active ingredients are also evaluated with regard to arboriculture for wood production and, in particular, to poplar cultivation.

Damage due to biotic and abiotic diseases involving poplar cultivation is in the order of 15-20 % of potential annual production. In addition to agents causing bark necrosis (Discosporium populeum, Cytospora spp., Phomopsis spp., bacteria) and root rot (Rosellinia necatrix and Armillaria mellea), diseases of the leaves must also be carefully considered, caused by parasites such as Pollaccia elegans, Marssonina brunnea, Melampsora spp., not only in regard to direct damage (in terms of quantity) on poplar growth but also to indirect effects (in terms of quality) on the physiological equilibrium of the plant and its ability to resist other attacks. It is possible to reduce loss caused by parasites by imposing correct control strategies which firstly exploit the plants natural defences, with the aim of reducing costs and undesirable side-effects of the use of chemicals to a minimum, or, secondly, are based on control techniques with minimal environmental impact. In both cases, the basic assumption is founded on knowledge of the biology of the various parasites and of the relationship which they establish with the host plant (aggression-reaction mechanisms), also in relation to environmental conditions. This is even more important, if rapid evolution and the appearance of new, highly pathogenic forms of certain parasitic fungi are taken into consideration, such as the Melampspora species, for example, which are agents of rusts.

General aims and planning strategies

  • Monitoring and study of the epidemiology of the most dangerous diseases of poplar which are epidemic in form, in various ecological areas of Italy, with a view to early recognition of the incidence and spread of those already extant in the territory and timely verification of the possible introduction of new undesirable agents (such as Melampsora medusae, Septoria musiva, etc.), with particular reference to the host-parasite-environment interactions.
  • Study of the biology and interaction with poplar of lesser-known parasites (such as Viruses, Phomopsis spp., Cytospora spp., Xanthomonas sp., Erwinia sp.), or those able rapidly to differentiate new pathogenic strains (Melampsora spp.).
  • Research into the resistance mechanisms of poplar to diseases as a basis for adequate selection strategies or efficient early testing to evaluate resistance in new clones.
  • Defining the economic threshold of damage beyond which a rational plan of disease control is needed.
  • Evaluation of the efficacy of new fungicides to control the main fungal parasites of poplar and evaluation of potential environmental impact of the consequent use of chemical agents.
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness and of the plant toxicity, in respect of poplar and willow, of herbicidal products recently put on the market.
  • Development of in vitro techniques for culturing parasites, using artificial or semi-natural substrates for continuous culturing, and investigation into the effects of substances incorporated into the substrates.
  • Monitoring of the main plant diseases in plantations of arboriculture for wood production, with special reference to walnut and cherry.

Scarica scheda

Download datasheet

Staff Research concluded () or ACTIVE()
Giorcelli Achille

Esposito Carmine 




Plant protection aspects in poplar cultivation
Surveys on the epidemiology of the main Poplar diseases in Italy

Surveys on cortical alterations of the Poplar owing to probable bacterial source

Phytosanitary monitoring of timber production plantations and development of defence strategies

Create a system to identify poplar clones
Task 2 'Timber production outside natural forests'
Subtask 'Arboriculture for timber production with fast growing species'