Dendrochronological reconstruction of arborvitae leafminer (Argyresthia spp.) outbreaks on northern white-cedar (thuja occidentalis) in maine, usa

Shawn Fraver, Colby Bosely-Smith, Camilla Seirup, Christopher H. Guiterman, Thomas Schmeelk, Aaron Teets, Ruth Van Kampen, Laura S. Kenefic

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

Although northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis; henceforth cedar) is thought to have few insect pests, arborvitae leafminers (primarily Argyresthia thuiella) have been known to cause leaf necrosis. Yet, historical evidence for leafminer outbreaks is limited. We combined leafminer larval surveys conducted between 1950 and 1992 with tree-ring analyses from eight cedar stands to reconstruct a history of leafminer outbreaks in Maine, USA. Our tree-ring data show distinctive 2- to 3-year growth reductions that we attribute to leafminers. Several such growth reductions correspond to peak leafminer larval abundances, providing evidence that the reductions are reliable indicators of leafminer activity. Outbreak severity within a site was unrelated to cedar abundance. Outbreak periods thus identified (beginning ca. 1919, 1937, 1950, 1962, mid-1970s, but not at all sites) suggest that leafminer damage may have been more prevalent (albeit patchy) than previously thought. This historical information is relevant given current outbreaks in Maine and elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Arborvitae
  • Argyresthia thuiella
  • Dendroecology
  • DfoliatR
  • Eastern white cedar
  • Host-non-host analysis
  • Insect defoliation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Ecology

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