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Evaluation of Hemlock (Tsuga) Species and Hybrids for Resistance to Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) Using Artificial Infestation

Michael E. Montgomery, S. E. Bentz, Richard T. Olsen
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0351 1247-1254 First published online: 1 June 2009


Hemlock (Tsuga) species and hybrids were evaluated for resistance to the hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae Annand (Hemiptera: Adelgidae). The adelgid was accidentally introduced from Asia to the eastern United States, where it is causing widespread mortality of the native hemlocks, Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière and Tsuga caroliniana Engelm. These two native species plus the Asian species Tsuga chinensis (Franch.) E. Pritz and T. dumosa (D. Don) Eichler and Tsuga sieboldii Carrière, and the hybrids T. chinensis × T. caroliniana and T. chinensis × T. sieboldii, were artificially infested with the crawler stage of A. tsugae in the early spring 2006 and 2007. After 8 or 9 wk—when the spring (progrediens) generation would be mature—counts were made of the adelgid. In both years, the density of A. tsugae was highest on T. canadensis, T. caroliniana, and T. sieboldii; lowest on T. chinensis; and intermediate on the hybrids. On T. chinensis and the T. chinensis hybrids, fewer adelgids settled, fewer of the settled adelgids survived, and the surviving adelgids grew slower. Thus, the nature of the host resistance is both nonpreference (antixenosis) and adverse effects on biology (antibiosis). Tree growth (height) was associated with resistance, but no association was found between time of budbreak and resistance that was independent of the taxa. Many of the hybrids grow well, have attractive form, and are promising as resistant landscape alternatives for the native hemlocks.

  • Adelges tsugae
  • hemlock woolly adelgid
  • hybrid hemlock
  • host plant resistance

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