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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Seasonal timing and recurrence of methyl jasmonate treatment influence pine weevil damage to Norway spruce seedlings

Chen, Yayuan; Bylund, Helena; Bjorkman, Christer; Fedderwitz, Frauke; Puentes, Adriana


Defense can be induced in conifer seedlings to reduce pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) damage, by treatment with the plant hormone methyl jasmonate (MJ). Few studies have addressed important practical issues regarding the use of MJ such as treatment incidence and timing, seedling age and its compatibility with plant nursery practices. We examined if levels of pine weevil damage depend on seasonal timing and recurrence of MJ treatment, and if the observed effects depend on plant age. Norway spruce (Picea abies) seedlings from two age cohorts (1 year and 1.5 years old) received four MJ treatments: MJ application before winter storage in the previous year, after winter storage but before spring/summer planting, repeated MJ application (both before winter storage, and before planting) or no MJ application at all. Pine weevil damage was evaluated in a lab and field experiment. We found that the timing and recurrence of MJ treatment affected the amount of damage inflicted by pine weevils in different ways, but these effects were consistent among age cohorts. MJ application before winter storage provided the most effective protection, and this reduction in damage was comparable to that provided by a currently used physical protection method against pine weevil feeding. Our results indicated that MJ can be applied in line with nursery practices (before winter storage) and provides adequate protection for two growing seasons.


Conifer seedlings; Forest plant protection; Hylobius abietis; Induced defense; Nursery protocols

Published in

New Forests
2021, Volume: 52, number: 3, pages: 431-448
Publisher: SPRINGER