Michigan is widely known for its serene forests, natural areas, and beautiful and productive orchards. However, a changing environment and invasive organisms are leading to transformations throughout Michigan forests and landscape trees. Widely publicized examples include oak wilt and beech bark diseases in the upper peninsula and northern lower peninsula, Dutch elm disease statewide, and the spread of the Emerald Ash borer infestation that began radiating from around Detroit. Continuous economic challenges to Michigan orchards in the productive west and northwestern parts of the state include Fire Blight, Cherry knot, bacterial wilt and leaf curl diseases—and can lead to steep economic losses by farmers and orchardists. A significant epidemic that got its start around 1900 in the United States is a persistent threat to American and hybrid chestnut in both natural and nascent chestnut orchards throughout Michigan (and in the tree’s native range) is the destructive chestnut blight pathogen. In addition to this historic and continuous disease in Michigan, a new epidemic called spruce decline is progressing throughout the state. Landscape and plantations of spruces are showing branch death and needle loss, which causes homeowners and tree farmers to prune many dead branches and use chemical controls, with the ever-present threat of these trees dying. This talk will provide an overview of many tree pests and pathogens, how these diseases are being managed, what role the changing environment may be playing, and the future direction of some research at Michigan State University to further understand and protect Michigan trees from destructive pests and pathogens.
Monday, March 17, 2014
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
1758 N. 10th St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Christine McTavish received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2011, and is currently an M.S. graduate student in the Department of Plant Biology in the College of Natural Science. She is studying the strains of Phomopsis infecting spruce in Michigan, the variability of the pathogen, and the spruce host susceptibility.
Josh Springer received his B.S. from the University of Michigan-Flint in Biology and Chemistry in 2006 and his Ph.D from Michigan State University in Plant Biology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior in 2013. At present, Josh is a post-doctoral researcher at Michigan State studying the control of fungal toxins in food crops and the control of disease spread in seed heads of a wheat cultivar.