Saving Your Pine Trees From an Ugly Death

By: albertaarb - April 19, 2013

All around the US right now there are many reports of pine trees dying. There may be nothing so beautiful as a healthy pine tree, but trees are living organisms that are as susceptible to disease and trauma as other organisms. Let's explore a number of pine tree diseases and their cures.

The Causes of Pine Trees Dying

Pine wilt is caused by the Pinewood nematode, a parasite of the pine sawyer beetle, that feeds in the resin canal of the tree. This blocks the flow of water and nutrients to the branches. Striking one branch at a time, the needles turn brown and the tree dies rapidly, often in the space of a month. The only "cure" for this disease is to chop the tree and burn and remove the wood, thus saving other trees from infestation.

Other Pine Tree Diseases

Needle blight, another name for dothistroma, is a slow-acting fungal infection of the needles. You can recognize it by a white band in the center of the needle that slowly turns brown. Eventually, one half of the needle remains green while the tip has turned brown. Left untreated, the tree will die but the disease can be arrested by judicial applications of copper fungicide.

Treating Pine Tree Diseases

You can also treat diplodia tip blight with copper fungicide. This disease affects individual branches on a tree, and you can recognize it when the branch begins to appear stunted and leak resin. The needles turn brown and the cones develop tiny, brown spots. You can recognize Nantucket pine tip moth damage by inspecting the terminal bud at the tip of the tree branch. A hollow bud means the moth has damaged the tree.

Pine Trees and Stress

The important thing to remember is that trees, like people, can suffer from stress and become susceptible to disease. Non-native species of tree, like the Japanese black pine, are more susceptible, as are trees that have been weakened through environmental factors like lack of water and poor nutrition.

Caring for Pine Plantations

Do a soil test every 3 to 5 years to ensure that your trees are getting the right mix of water and nutrients. Good plantation sanitation can also minimize the risk of disease. Collect fallen needles routinely and dispose of them so that they cannot harbor parasites. Prune dead branches from trees, and sanitize the shears. Burn the lopped branches.

Your Pine Trees and Alberta Arborists

Our expert arborists offer a range of services to help care for your trees. These include:

  • Diagnosing insect infestations and fungal disease
  • Pruning, cutting and disposing of dead wood
  • Thinning plantations so that living trees receive the correct mix of air and light

If you have a dying pine tree, call 780-448-0584 and we will try our best to save your dying pine tree.

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