Root Diseases

Forest tree root diseases are caused by fungal pathogens which are widespread throughout all forested ecosystems of British Columbia, occurring on many deciduous and coniferous hosts. They are an integral part of these forested ecosystems and can be viewed as both detrimental and beneficial to the health, function and productivity of forests. Root pathogens can reduce tree growth, lower wood quality and cause early mortality.

They also function as important factors in the dynamics of forest disturbance; playing a role in nutrient cycling, ecological succession and biodiversity. Their biology is such that harvesting, regeneration, and stand management activities can affect the competitive behaviour and subsequent spread of root pathogens in ecosystems.

Managing Root Diseases

Ecosystem-based forest management strives to maintain the function of root pathogens while not creating conditions that favour them over other ecological site factors. An important principle is that their role in each ecosystem must be recognized and understood. Forest management must take account of the constraints of root disease pathogen biology and site ecology.

Of the many root pathogens in British Columbia, several cause very significant disruptions to the maintenance of existing forest crops and the regeneration and maintenance of future stands. They are widespread in nature and require special attention at all levels of planning.

Root diseases should be considered at all levels of planning and when creating prescriptions, even though they may not be treated in all situations. Read more about managing them:

Types of Root Disease in B.C.

Major root diseases include:

  • Armillaria root disease (Armillaria ostoyae)
  • Laminated root disease (Phellinus sulpharscens)
  • Tomentosus root disease (Onnia tomentosus)
  • Blackstain root disease (Ophiostoma wageneri)
  • Annosus root disease (Heterobasidion occidentalis)