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Spread of chestnut blight in Slovakia in relation to the site topography and climatic characteristics

M. Bolvansky, R. Ostrovsky, M. Kobza, K. Adamcikova, J. Pazitny, G. Juhasova, P. Kajaba
Acta horticulturae 2014 no.1043 pp. 35-42
Castanea, Cryphonectria parasitica, air, air temperature, altitude, drought, rain, trees, Slovakia
Since 1976, when the first occurrence of chestnut blight caused by Cryphonectria parasitica was observed in the locality of Duchonka, West Slovakia, the disease has spread to 43 new areas. Only areas and sites with a lower number of chestnut trees are still without the disease. In this study we have analyzed records on the first occurrence of chestnut blight in different chestnut localities in combination with topographical characteristics of the sites (position, altitude, slope gradient, slope orientation) and climatic data (air temperature, precipitation). The first occurrence of chestnut blight in the respective site appears not to be related to its topographical characteristics but to its weather conditions (below average rainfall or above average annual air temperatures). In the first two epidemic waves of chestnut blight (from 1976 to 1992) there was a shortfall of precipitation which seems to have played a dominant role in chestnut blight occurrence on particular sites. In the last two epidemic waves (from 1995 to 2009), markedly above average air temperatures combined with slightly above average rainfall for this period might have had the dominant role in triggering the disease. Both the insufficient precipitation and the excessive air temperature result in drought period, which is apparently one of the most important environmental factors initiating chestnut blight occurrence.