Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (746 KB)

Title: Mortality and growth of dwarf mistletoe-infected red and white fir and the efficacy of thinning for reducing associated losses

Author: Mehl, H. K.; Mori, S. R.; Frankel, S. J.; Rizzo, D. M.;

Date: 2013

Source: For. Path. 43: 193–203

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: In managed forests dominated by true fir (Abies) species, stands are often restocked using understory trees retained during timber harvest, making the effects of dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium spp.) infestation on small true fir a concern. This study examined the response of small red (A. magnifica) and white (A. concolor) fir and their dwarf mistletoes (A. abietinum f.sp. magnificae and A. abietinum f.sp. concoloris, respectively) to precommercial thinning treatments in fir-dominated stands in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Tree diameters and dwarf mistletoe ratings were monitored from 1981 to 2001, and mortality was observed from 1981 to 2006. Red and white fir survival and radial growth decreased significantly with greater mistletoe ratings and increased with larger diameters and live crown ratios. Thinning significantly increased survival and growth of white, but not red fir. Over the course of the study, mistletoe ratings for both fir species did not change significantly in unthinned stands, but increased in thinned stands. However, while statistically significant, increases in mistletoe ratings in thinned stands were gradual and mistletoe ratings did not statistically differ between treatments 20 years post-thinning. Additionally, thinning did not significantly influence mistletoe spread to uninfected trees, indicating that precommercial thinning in lightly infested red and white fir stands will not likely result in substantial increases in dwarf mistletoe abundance over typical harvesting intervals. Overall, while severe dwarf mistletoe infection ratings reduced tree survival and growth, because ratings remained low, actual losses resulting from mistletoes during this study were minor and will not likely result in substantial economic losses over normal harvesting intervals. This finding indicates that precommercial thinning treatments designed specifically to compensate for mistletoe-associated losses may not be necessary when managing red and white fir for timber production.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Mehl, H. K.; Mori, S. R.; Frankel, S. J.; Rizzo, D. M. 2013. Mortality and growth of dwarf mistletoe-infected red and white fir and the efficacy of thinning for reducing associated losses. For. Path. 43: 193–203.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.