Diseases on Eucalyptus species in Zimbabwean plantations and woodlots
Zimbabwe embarked on planting Eucalyptus species in the early 1900s. Based on a robust breeding programme, it has become a major source of seed for other countries in and outside Africa. Tree health surveys conducted on Eucalyptus in some east and southern African countries over the past two decades have revealed several important fungal diseases that were previously not known in the region, but little is known regarding these problems in Zimbabwe. The aim of this study was to identify important Eucalyptus diseases across Zimbabwe’s agroclimatic regions. Morphological characteristics and DNA sequence data were used to identify pathogens collected to species level. Widespread stem canker diseases, caused by species belonging to the Botryosphaeriaceae and Teratosphaeriaceae, and leaf spot diseases caused by fungi in the Capnodiales, were identified. Armillaria root and stem rot was restricted to a single site in the Eastern Highlands. Fungi that could cause canker or blue stain of timber were isolated from recently harvested stumps and included species of Ceratocystis and Ophiostoma. This study is the first to identify Eucalyptus pathogens to species level in Zimbabwe and we report for the first time the presence of the stem canker pathogen T. gauchensis in southern Africa. The results will provide a foundation for the formulation of future disease management strategies in the country.
Keywords: Armillaria, Botryosphaeriaceae, Capnodiales, leaf spot, root rot, stem cankers, Teratosphaeriaceae