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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Evergreen Trees and Shrubs > Pine > Needles on one to a few branches die

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Pine > Needles > All needles on one to a few branches turn brown and die

1 of 6
  • Diplodia shoot blight 1
  • Diplodia shoot blight 2
  • Diplodia shoot blight 3

Diplodia shoot blight
Diplodia pinea

  • New needles are brown, short and often glued together with resin
  • Cankers are resin coated flattened areas on branches
  • Needles and branch beyond canker turn brown and dies
  • Tiny, black, pimple-like fungal structures on dead needles and pine cones
  • Infected shoots and dead branches occur throughout the tree but most commonly in the lower canopy
  • Cankers and dead needles can appear rapidly after wounding from hail, drought or other stress
  • Olive to dark brown streaking in sapwood below cankers
  • Common on Austrian, red and Scots pine
  • More information on Diplodia shoot blight
2 of 6
  • White pine blister rust 1
  • White pine blister rust 2
  • White pine blister rust 3

White pine blister rust
Cronartium ribicola

  • All needles on one or several branches die and turn completely reddish-orange
  • Young cankers are elliptical, bark appears swollen and discolored yellowish orange
  • Older cankers exude large amounts of white sticky resin and have cracked bark
  • In early spring, orange-yellow blisters appear on the bark of cankers that are 2 or more years old
  • In summer, yellow-orange sticky liquid droplets form in cankers 3 years or older
  • Only white pine and other five needled pines can be infected
  • More information on White pine blister rust
3 of 6
  • Sirococcus shoot blight 1
  • Sirococcus shoot blight 2
  • Sirococcus shoot blight 3

Sirococcus shoot blight
Sirococcus conigenus

  • Needles turn brown, wilt and droop
  • Young shoots wilt and curl into a shepherd's crook
  • Brown to black raised bumps can be seen on wilted needles and on shoots at the base of the needle in the fall or spring following the appearance of symptoms
  • Older needles remain unaffected
  • Common in cool, wet summers
  • Infection often starts in the lower branches and moves up
  • Common on red, jack and Scots pine; Austrian and eastern white pine are resistant
  • Also infects spruce, fir and larch
  • More information on Sirococcus shoot blight
4 of 6
  • Eastern pine shoot borer 1
  • Eastern pine shoot borer 2

Eastern pine shoot borer
Eucosma gloriola

  • Wilted or drooping shoots form a shepherd's crook which often break off
  • Needles beyond feeding sites first turn yellow then reddish-brown
  • Needles may drop prematurely
  • Larva is off-white with dark head and grows to about ½ inch long
  • Small, oval exit hole may be seen below dying shoot
  • Prefers white and Scots pine
  • More information on Eastern pine shoot borer
5 of 6
  • Scleroderris canker 1
  • Scleroderris canker 2
  • Scleroderris canker 3

Scleroderris canker
Gremmeniella abietina

  • Needle clusters turn brown from the base up and are easily pulled off the branch
  • Infected needles fall off in summer
  • Buds on infected twigs fail to open
  • Cutting into branch below discolored needles reveals yellow-green discoloration
  • Cankers can kill branches or move into main stem and become perennial
  • Damage is greatest on small (
  • Jack and red pine most commonly affected
  • More information on Scleroderris canker
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  • Pine shoot beetle 1
  • Pine shoot beetle 2
  • Pine shoot beetle 3

Pine shoot beetle
Tomicus piniperda

  • Dying, dead and broken shoots, particularly in the top half of the tree
  • Adults tunnel into shoots which turn yellow to reddish-brown
  • Attacks most pine species where cut stumps or logs are present
  • Adults are shiny, black and about the size of a match head
  • Larvae are white with a brown head and about ¼ inch long
  • More information on Pine shoot beetle

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