The fungal pathogens causing diseases in pines

  • Kristina Raitelaitytė
  • Arvydas Rutkauskas
  • Jana Radzijevskaja
  • Judita Žukauskienė
  • Svetlana Markovskaja
  • Algimantas Paulauskas
Keywords: Dothistroma septosporum, Lecanosticta acicola, Lophodermium seditiosum, Cronartium flaccidum, Gremmeniella abietina, Fusarium circinatum


Fungal infections are the main cause of emerging infectious diseases in forest trees. Over the past decades, the number of invasive fungal pathogens in Europe has increased exponentially. In this paper the  fungal pathogens causing the  most common diseases in pines like Dothistroma needle blight, brown spot needle blight, Lophodermium needle cast, Scots pine blister rust, Scleroderris canker, and Pitch canker were analyzed. These diseases cause defoliation, increase susceptibility of plants to other diseases and pests, and tree mortality can also occur. As a result, the forest industry is suffering severe economic losses. The fungi species causing infection in forest trees have been described as serious pathogens across the  world including Europe, confirming a  fast spread of their ranges. Knowledge of pathogens distribution, life cycle and disease symptoms are essential for the diagnostic and control of pathogenic fungi. Human-driven species expansion has increased in the last century due to the growth of international travel and trade, resulting in huge disturbance to ecosystems. Most of the plant diseases are strongly influenced by environmental conditions. Climate change has important consequences on plants, pathogens, and the interaction between them, resulting in changes on diseases epidemics. Fungal infections of plants are difficult to control because pathogens populations are variable in time, space, and genotypes. The potential damage in the future may be large, and that is why we have to be aware of the problems and discuss some possible approaches to reducing the threats.