pine tree fungus

Asked July 24, 2019, 12:27 PM EDT

I live in Northern Michigan. I have noticed all of my pine trees turning brown and then loosing their needles...especially the very tall trees but now showing the fungus in smaller pine trees. They are killing my trees....but as I drive around Cheboygan and Emmet Counties I am seeing a sweep of large and small evergreen/pine trees that are brown and in a week seem to have lost all of their needles. I have a place in western Cheboygan county that is very quickly killing many of the pine trees, especially those in forested area, but also in my yard. Driving from Wolverine to Petoskey, I am seeing many diseased trees in the forests in Cheboygan but now am starting to see more and more diseased trees coming in to Emmet County .Is there anything that can treat or stop the speed of this fungus and will it soon be killing more and more? The trees in the forested areas seem to be worse, but I have 2 large pines in my yard that began turning brown from the middle and spreading up and down within a few weeks. The brown needles are starting to drop soon. Is there anything that can keep this fungus from spreading to forests and yards?

Cheboygan County Michigan

1 Response

Hello,
There may be a number of issues causing evergreens, or trees with needles, to turn brown and die this time of year, however, there has been no reported pathogen or disease moving through the area. Conifers most commonly turn brown and die this time of year due to winter dessication, or the drying out of conifers in the winter months due to high winds, low temps and the frozen ground. Because conifers retain their "leaves" year round, they do lose a bit of moisture through their needles. When winds are sustained at high temperatures and/or temperatures are cold, the amount of water lost by the needles increases. In some cases, the trees can rebound in the spring and summer months. In other cases the trees perish due to the amount of water lost in the winter months.
Spruce trees are known to be affected by the needle cast fungus, which can cause interior needles to turn brown and fall off. This only affects spruce trees, not pines or fir trees. Here is a link to read more about needlecast:
https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/rhizosphaera-needle-cast/
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Thank you,
Julie