Pine Needle Disease I have a large number of Pine trees (Norway, Black Hills,...

Asked April 30, 2017, 10:29 AM EDT

Pine Needle Disease I have a large number of Pine trees (Norway, Black Hills, White pine, Australian, and Blue spruce) as wind break and privacy around my house. Upon some research i believe I have Needle Blight or some other fungus. Is there a recommended fungicide to spray these trees with, and is there a local arborist who would be willing to consult to try to save these trees, as I'm losing 1 a year? My research shows that this is the time of year to try to attack the problem. I just want to make sure we treat for the right problem. More photos are available

Williams County Ohio

1 Response

Hi Williams County, I'm sorry for the delay in answering. I have just attended a seminar on diseases and insect problems with conifers in Athens, Ohio. The picture you included shows what I can assume is a two-needled pine. From what I can see in the picture it looks like Diplodia Tip Blight or Sphaeropsis Tip Blight since they changed the name of the fungus that causes it. The fungus spores are released from the fruiting bodies of the fungus that appear on the small branches, cones, and other debris. The spores drift through the air and land on the young shoots of the pine and enter and start to grow. As they progress through the tips of the young shoots, they enter the larger stems. The one thing you will usually see is that there are latent buds at the tips and they will tend to emerge and start another tip growing. Then that tip becomes infected with the fungus and you have a gathering of tips that are dead or dying and it gives the classic symptoms of Diplodia Tip Blight.

One thing we learned in class was to not have the windbreak so jam packed that the needled evergreens stay wet for a long period. They need some air circulation to dry out and this helps reduce the chances for infection from the spores that are in the air. The other thing is to not be extra kind to them by fertilizing with a high nitrogen fertilizer. This produces a soft lush growth of the tips especially and that is the worst thing you can do.

OK, I've looked up Williams County for OSU Extension Offices. There seems to be an office but mostly concentrated on 4-H activities. You would do well to take your sample of problems to the Lucas County OSU Extension office. They would be able to take a look at the samples and give you a better idea. Our instructor was from Van Wert County OSU Extension, Curtis Young. He could also give you some help.

You have several different things going on with your conifers. The Diplodia Tip Blight that I wrote about does not infect the Spruce trees. Spruce trees have their own problems and usually they don't go from pine to spruce.

The best thing to do is to take samples of the diseased areas and bag them. Take the sample the same day you are taking them to the OSU Extension office and label them as to which tree you got the sample from. You should include of course the area where the dead or dying tip is and then go way back down the stem to the area where there is good green tissue and shows no sign of a problem. That way the person can see what the progression of the disease or malady is.

Here is the Van Wert OSU Extension office: (419)238-1214 ask for Curtis Young

The Lucas County OSU Extension office:(419) 213-4254 ask for Amy Stone

If you are looking for a certified arborist to help you, google ISA or International Society of Arboriculture. A certified arborist has taken a course of study to become certified. This incudes a lot of continuing education to keep up with leading edge issues. They are listed by county on the web site. Usually they can come to your property and take a look at your problem. You really need someone to walk around, take a look and give you a recommendation.

I hope this helps you. Don