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Tree diseases of the Great Plains

Date: July 06, 2017

Disease identification used to help managers conserve trees


In 1986, the first guidebook to tree diseases in the Great Plains was published by the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. Master gardeners, arborists, plant pathologists, pest management specialists, farmers, foresters, and other land managers used this guidebook for over 30 years to successfully diagnose and treat tree diseases across Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and other Great Plains states. Trees in this region are highly valued for their shade in cities, as windbreaks on farms, for use in agroforestry systems, for providing wildlife habitat, and more.cover shot of GTR-335

In 2016, an updated version of Diseases of Trees in the Great Plains, was released. The book identifies tree hosts, tree distribution, disease symptoms and signs, disease cycles, and management strategies for 84 hardwood and 32 conifer diseases found in the Great Plains. The book also includes color illustrations, a glossary of technical terms, and indexes of hosts and pathogens. The book covers diseases of foliage, roots, stems, and branches soil-borne and wilt diseases, and the safe handling and use of pesticides. The book's chapters are grouped into hardwood and conifer diseases, then classified by the part of the plant being affected, each following a standard format.

27 authors contributed to the publication, providing the most comprehensive set of information available on tree diseases in this region of the country. The book was made possible because of the unique relationship between the state foresters, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Great Plains Tree Pest Council. This collaborative group leveraged resources to produce this book in response to stakeholder requests.

This resource is critical where environmental factors not only create unique conditions for trees, but also for a unique set of forest disease complexes. These environmental factors are projected to become more erratic and extreme under future climate increasing the need for strategies that will lead to better adapted tree materials and plantings necessary for landscape services.

The publication will be important in Forest Service Regions 1 (Northern), 2 (Rocky), 4 (Intermountain) and western portions of Region 9 (Eastern). The key clients include State Forestry agencies, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service staff, extension agents and diagnostic laboratories, university researchers and teachers, commercial tree nurseries, tree health consultants, and non-governmental organizations involved in tree management.

The book is available for online download and can also be ordered through the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (email requests to: rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us).

Featured Publications

Bergdahl, Aaron D. ; Hill, Alison , 2016
Riffle, Jerry W. ; Peterson, Glenn W. , 1986


Principal Investigators: 
Principal Investigators - External: 
Aaron Bergdahl - Maine Forest Service
Forest Service Partners: 
Marcus B. Jackson, Plant Pathologist, U.S. Forest Service, Forest Health Protection
Jennifer Juzwik, Research Plant Pathologist, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station
Michael E. Ostr,y Research Plant Pathologist, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station
James J. Worrall, Forest Pathologist, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Forest Health Protection
External Partners: 
Gerard C. Adams, Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska
Rachel A. Allison, Western Forest Health Specialist, Nebraska Forest Service, University of Nebraska
Jon A. Appel, Plant Pathologist, Kansas Department of Agriculture
David N. Appel, Plant Pathologist, Texas A&M University
John Ball, Forest Health Specialist, South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Forestry Extension, South Dakota State University
James T. Blodgett, Plant Pathologist, U.S. Forest Service, Forest Health Protection
Kelly S. Burns, Plant Pathologist, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, State and Private Forestry
Whitney Cranshaw, Entomologist, Colorado State University
Kelsey L. Dunnell, Research Specialist, Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University
Mark L. Gleason, Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University
Mark O. Harrell, Forest Health Program Leader, Nebraska Forest Service, University of Nebraska
Thomas C. Harrington, Forest Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University
William R. Jacobi, retired Professor of Forest and Shade Tree Pathology, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University
Megan M. Kennelly, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University
Les Koch, Forest Health Specialist, Wyoming State Forestry Division
Jared M. LeBoldus, Assistant Professor, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology/Forest Engineering and Resources Management, Oregon State University
Phillip A. Mason, National Operations Manager, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine
Douglas L. McNew, Mycologist, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
Judith O’Mara Diagnostician, Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University
Hayley M. Nelson, Research Associate II, Dept. of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University
Nicole Opbroek, Forest Health Specialist, Kansas State Forest Service
Scott C. Redlin, Plant Pathologist, USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine Center for Plant Health Science and Technology
Glen R. Stanosz, Professor, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Laurie J. Stepanek, Forest Health Specialist, Nebraska Forest Service, University of Nebraska
Ned Tisserat, retired Extension Specialist and Professor, Colorado State University
Timothy C. Todd, Research Nematologist, Kansas State University
James A. Walla, Northern Tree Specialties
Simeon Wright, Forest Pathologist, Missouri Department of Conservation
Research Location: 
Great Plains