Common Diseases That Affect Pines – And How To Save The Trees

Pine trees are large, picturesque trees with thick branches full of needlelike greenery. The trees make lovely additions to any yard and come in particularly handy when it comes time to decorate for the holidays. But pine trees, like any other type of trees, require regular maintenance and attention to keep the tree healthy and free of disease.

There are a few common diseases that affect pine trees. Keep an eye out for symptoms and keep regular tree trimming appointments, with a company like B. Haney & Sons, to minimize the risks that your tree will get sick.

Canker Disease

A type of canker disease called cylospora canker can affect pine trees. The primary symptom is canker sore shaped abrasions forming on the bark of the branches.

The sores tend to start out reddish in color and dry looking. As the canker disease worsens, the bark inside the wound will start to fester and turn black. The wound can also start emitting a dark, sap-like ooze.

Canker disease only attacks bark that was already damaged or dried out. So the best way to treat the disease is by cutting off the diseased limbs before the disease has time to spread. You can also prevent the disease from occurring in the first place by pruning away any sickly areas as soon as the problem presents.

Pine Wilt

Pine wilt is a potentially fatal disease that affects certain types of pine trees. Instead of being caused by a fungus, pine wilt is caused by a microscopic creature called a nematode. Because the disease is caused by animal rather than fungus, the damage is all contained above the ground rather than in the soil.

The first warning sign of pine wilt is the tree needles turning grey and then brown and falling off unexpectedly. Branches will emit an ooze similar to that created when actually cutting a pine branch. But, oddly enough, cutting a branch won't produce the ooze and will instead be quite dry.

There are pesticides that your landscaper can try and apply to the non-infected parts of the tree to save it. If you have numerous pine trees and only one is infected, it is better to have a tree removal service take the tree out and dispose of it off site so that beetles can't carry the disease on to your other trees.


Needlecast refers to a collection of tree diseases caused by several different yet similar fungi. The main symptoms strike the needles, which explain the name of the disease. Needles can turn yellow, gray, or brown depending on the type of fungus at work.

Needlecast is fairly easy to treat with an application of fungicide, though the already infected needles will still fall off. To prevent needlecast from happening in new trees, plant the trees in an area where the needles can dry out fully after rains and where the tree will get adequate air flow on all sides.