During a regular survey of declining forests in 2011, sudden dieback symptoms were observed on scattered wild cherry trees (Prunus avium) in a mixed deciduous forest stand, located in the flood plain area of the Rába River, in northwest Hungary. In this study, we correlated both soil conditions and presence of Phytophthora spp. to dieback of cherry trees. Two Phytophthora species, P. polonica and P. plurivora, were isolated from the rhizosphere soil of the dying trees. By contrast, only P. polonica was recovered from the necrotic tissues of symptomatic roots. Stem and root inoculation tests on cherry seedlings showed pathogenicity of both species, although P. polonica proved to be more virulent. This is the first report of natural infections of P. polonica.
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