Diplodia shoot blight, Diplodia sapinea, is a fungal disease that kills the tips of the branches of pines, and less frequently spruce and firs. In the blight stage, it can cause severe dieback and the fungus can grow into the stems and main trunk where it becomes a canker disease. It is considered a secondary infection in that weakened trees are more readily infected. Healthy trees are more resistant to infection.
During moist weather in spring, spores ooze from last year’s fungus that is growing on dead tissue. Wind and rain carry the spores to young needles and buds, infecting current season needles and developing shoots from late April to midJune. Within a year, the fungus produces more spores. Wet conditions during this period are needed for the disease to continue its infection progression.
Diplodia shoot blight most frequently affects Austrian pines but can also damage Scots pine, ponderosa pine, and Mugo pine. Spruce and fir can also be affected. The disease occurs most often in well established plantings; trees 25 to 30 years old can be especially vulnerable.
The most common symptoms are stunting and browning of current-year shoots in the lower branches. Dieback of the current season’s growth year-after-year, eventually results in dead limbs and stunted tree growth. The disease is initially confined to the lower branches. With time however, it progresses upward until only the very upper branches are green, while the middle and lower portion of the tree are brown with brittle, dead branches. Stunted, straw-colored-to gray needles are most likely to host fungal spores, but cones can also be infected. Small black dots, the spores, are visible at the base of needles and on cones.
If you think your pine trees may be infected with Diplodia shoot blight, contact Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialist. With over 20 years as a licensed arborist, we have solutions that can help save your pines!
A new and potentially serious threat to some of North America’s most beautiful and popular trees is the Asian Long-horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis). Native to parts of Asia, the beetle is believed to have arrived in North America in the wooden packing material used in cargo shipments from China. Isolated Asian Long-horned Beetle infestations have been discovered in Brooklyn and Amityville, New York, and in Chicago, Illinois. In all instances where Asian Long-horned Beetles have been found, authorities have reacted quickly to stop the infestation from spreading.
Trees favored by the Asian Long-horned Beetle are predominantly maples, but infestations have also been discovered in horse chestnuts, poplars, willows, elms, mulberries, black locusts, and many other varieties.
Asian Long-horned Beetles are very large insects, with bodies ranging from 1 to 1 ½ inches (2.5-4 cm) in length and with antennae which can be as long as four inches (10 cm). They are shiny and black with white spots and have long antennae that are banded black and white. These beetles have wings and can fly, although only for short distances because of their size and weight. The Asian Long-horned Beetle, like all types of boring insects, are extremely destructive because, as the beetle larvae burrow deep within a tree to feed, they disrupt the tree’s vascular system. Continued feeding causes structural defects in the tree and eventually kills the life-sustaining cambial layer by girdling. Mature beetles then burrow out of the tree, leaving holes the diameter of ball-point pens. Active Asian Long-horned Beetle infestations, if left untreated, can quickly kill otherwise healthy adult trees.
Mature beetles emerge from trees beginning in late May and lasting through October, peaking in July. Tree infestations can be detected by looking for tell-tail exit holes 3/8 to ¾ inches in diameter (1.5-2 cm) often in the larger branches of the crowns of infested trees. Sometimes sap can be seen oozing from the exit holes with coarse sawdust or ‘frass’ evident on the ground or lower branches.
If you think you may have Asian Longhorned Beetles, contact a licensed arborist like Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists.
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