The benefits of a pine (Pinus species) tree are obvious: it is a beautiful evergreen tree that is typically low maintenance and a low water user, making it ideal for various parts of Arizona, including the low desert and mountain areas. It provides shade all year long. The aromatic foliage has a pleasant fragrance. Birds and other wildlife seek shelter, shade, and food in pine trees; offering great viewing opportunities.
In Arizona, there are many native and non-native pine to choose from when selecting a tree for your yard or landscape, many of which are fast growing. Unfortunately, there are several pine tree diseases that you should be aware of, which along with your soil’s condition can impact the overall health of your tree. Understanding common pine tree diseases is your best defense if you want to ensure your tree remains healthy.
Common Pine Tree Diseases
Aleppo Pine Blight is a treatable condition if discovered early. This pine tree disease is characterized by greying, then browning needles that continue to cling to plump healthy branches until normal seasonal drop in the summer, and water-soaked cankers that appear on branches. Twigs and branches may die. Other disease organisms may invade. The source of this disease is thought to be induced by day/night temperature extremes or drought stress. If left untreated, permanent damage is possible. Maintaining proper watering and nitrogen fertilization practices may prevent Aleppo Pine Blight.
Comandra Blister Rust affects the Ponderosa pine. The fungus is a very specialized pathogen that requires two specific hosts – pine and Comandra – to complete its life cycle and has five different spore forms. The disease is characterized by branch infections, beginning in the needles in the first year. In the second year, a diseased trunk becomes a dark yellow to orange color as blisters form and then rupture, producing spores. In succeeding years, the scars from these blisters will form new white blisters in the spring, which once burst release more orange spores. If treated early, the tree may have a chance at survival. Treatment methods include pruning, complete branch removal, and canker excising.
Bark Beetles are small insects – about the size of a grain of rice – that feed by tunneling between the bark and wood of a pine tree. Affected species include the Ponderosa pine and the Pinyon Pine. A tree that has succumbed to bark beetles will have a foliage/needles the color of straw red. Localized populations of bark beetles typically prefer weakened or stressed trees, however, under epidemic conditions they will even attack healthy trees. Avoiding stress caused by drought conditions is your best line of defense against these harmful insects.
Expert Pine Tree Diagnosis and Treatment
Ensuring the proper, and prompt diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between a tree that will recover, and one that needs to be permanently removed. If you notice that your pine trees are not thriving or they are losing a large portion of their foliage, contact an expert to assist in the diagnosis; (480) 970-1315.
After the problem has been diagnosed, a treatment program can begin. At Branch Management Tree Service, we have over thirty years’ experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of native and non-native tree species in Arizona, including pine trees. Our certified tree arborists understand how to both treat and prevent these diseases.