Induced (traumatic) resin in white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) leaders resistant or susceptible to the white pine weevil (Pissodes strobi Peck) was analyzed for volatile terpenes and diterpene resin acids after simulated white pine weevil damage. Leaders from 331 trees were wounded just below the apical bud with a 1-mm diameter drill, coinciding with the natural time of weevil oviposition in the spring. Leaders were removed in the fall, and the bark and xylem from the upper and lower regions of the leader extracted and analyzed by gas chromatography.
Unwounded trees had low amounts of resin in xylem compared with bark. In response to wounding, volatile terpenes and diterpene resin acids increased in the upper xylem (area of wounding), with resistant trees showing a greater increase than susceptible trees. Wounding caused monoterpenes in particular to decrease in the lower region of the leader (away from the drilled area) in greater amounts in susceptible trees than in resistant trees. In response to wounding, the proportion of monoterpene to resin acid increased in the upper and lower xylem of resistant trees, and slightly increased in the upper xylem of susceptible trees. Monoterpene-enriched resin is more fluid than constitutive resin, and probably flows more readily into oviposition cavities and larval mines, where it may kill immature weevils. Loss of resin components in the lower xylem suggested catabolism and transport of these materials to the site of wounding; however, energetic and regulatory data are necessary to confirm this hypothesis. This study provides a basis for measuring the ability of a tree to undergo traumatic resinosis that could be used to screen for resistance to white pine weevil.