Dwarf mistletoe detection and management in Minnesota

photographic collage of research scientists conducting field studies in a forest
Researchers conduct fields studies in the forest

 

Background

Lodgepole pine dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum) is a parasitic plant native to the western United States and Canada. This type of mistletoe can attack and kill jack pine, making it a threat to Minnesota’s forests should it reach the state. Early detection and eradication efforts are important to preventing an invasion.

Researchers studied the management toolbox of Minnesota’s similar native dwarf mistletoe variety, eastern spruce dwarf mistletoe, A. pusillum. As part of this project, they continued to examine the success rate of those current methods to eradicate and look ahead to developing new techniques for early sampling and identification of invasive mistletoe varieties.

Research questions

  • What are the most effective and efficient techniques for sampling and identifying invasive dwarf mistletoe, A. americanum?
  • How effective are eradication practices for Minnesota’s native dwarf mistletoe, A. pusillum?
  • What is Minnesota’s plan for detecting and managing invasive dwarf mistletoe as early as possible?

Practical implications

This research will help Minnesota land managers be ready to defend their pines against a new invasive threat as soon as it happens. It will also assess the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the state’s current dwarf mistletoe management practices for future improvement.

Outcomes

The project team identified key aspects which need to be considered for the early detection of the invasive A. americanum on jack pine. They explored different methods for predicting A. americanum at the individual tree level and at the stand level using multiple different datasets. At the landscape level, researchers identified areas that have greater potential for impact from A. americanum and linked those with stand and environmental variables, which can provide foresters tools to prioritize management.

Through focus groups and surveys, researchers also identified the need for providing educational opportunities for foresters and loggers regarding the biology and identification of A. americanum. Training is a key component for successful early detection.

Publications

* Not funded by MITPPC

Research team

Marcella Windmuller-Campione | principal investigator

Robert Blanchette | co-principal investigator

Charles Blinn | co-principal investigator

Christopher Edgar | co-principal investigator

Matthew Russell | co-principal investigator

Stephanie Snyder | co-principal investigator

Brian Anderson | researcher

Sarah Fellows | researcher

Amit Pradhananga | researcher

R. Lane Moser | researcher

Paul Klocow | post-doctoral associate

Ella Gray | PhD candidate

Alex Gorman | MS student

 

Lab or other website

silvalab.cfans.umn.edu

 

Collaborating organizations

US Forest Service