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Brown needles on pine tree
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Brown needles on pine tree

SPHAEROPSIS (DIPLODIA) TIP BLIGHT

HOST TREES

Austrian Pine, Mugo Pine, and Scots Pine.

SYMPTONS / IDENTIFICATION

Diplodia tip blight causes brown, stunted, or curled growth on the current year shoots in pine trees of all ages. Black fruiting bodies from the disease may be present in dead needles, shoot tissue, or on the needles of mature pines.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

Pine trees that are under stress as a result of drought, poor planting sites, snow damage, mechanical wounds and insect activity are typically infected. Non-native (exotic) pine tree species are highly susceptible to this tree and shrub disease.

LIFE CYCLE

Diplodia tip blight overwinters as mycelium (fruiting bodies) in conifer shoots, bark, cones, or litter.  Spores are disseminated during wet weather in the spring and continue through the fall.

HOW TO CONTROL DIPLODIA TIP BLIGHT

Prevention is the best way to control Diplodia tip blight infection. Avoid planting highly susceptible exotic conifer species where Diplodia tip blight has been a problem.
Reduce tree stress by deep-root fertilizing to help promote the health and vigor of your trees.
Create mulch rings, or mulch beds, around susceptible trees to reduce root competitions with turfgrass and prevent trunk damage from lawn mowers or string trimmers.
Avoid in-ground sprinklers systems spraying the needles of susceptible trees. The continual high moisture level will allow easier infection of pine needles.
Fungicide treatments applied during spore dispersal in the spring from the onset of bud break until the current years growth is completed is highly recommended for susceptible pine tree species.  Three fungicide applications are recommended to ensure full coverage.
Tree spraying, tree disease
Pictures courtesy of www.forestryimages.org
Tree spraying, tree disease
Photo:  USDA Forest Service - North Central Research Station Archive, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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