The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation reports that white pine tree needle damage is widespread in the state again this spring. According to Windham County Forester Bill Guenther, “The golden hue of white pine needle blight exploded onto the scene in early June”. Although the damage is very noticeable, it is not life-threatening to healthy white pines.
Widespread yellowing of white pine needles has been particularly noticeable in the region since 2010. Topmost branches are rarely affected by the disease. Although the white pine needle damage looks serious, the trees aren’t dying, and their new shoots should grow normally. Trees will look better in early summer, once all the injured needles are shed.
Microscopic fungi have been associated with this disease, which has become noticeable throughout northern New England and eastern Canada. “White pine needle damage can become a problem in the year following a wet spring, which favors development of fungi,” said Isabel Munck, Forest Pathologist with the US Forest Service. Needle fungi have also been causing damage to other pine species.
The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation is cooperating with the US Forest Service and other states in conducting surveys to determine the cause and impact of the damage.
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