Small scale variability in soil moisture drives infection of vulnerable juniper populations by invasive forest pathogen

Flora Donald, Sarah Green, Kate Searle, Nik J. Cunniffe & Bethan V. Purse
The oomycete plant pathogen, Phytophthora austrocedri, is an aggressive killer of cypress trees causing severe mortality of Chilean cedar (Austrocedrus chilensis) in Argentina since the 1940s and now common juniper (Juniperus communis s.l.) in the UK. Rapid mortality of key UK juniper populations was first observed in the early 2000s; the causal agent of mortality was confirmed as P. austrocedri in 2012 and the pathogen has now been widely detected - but is not ubiquitous...
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