The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation reports that white pine tree needle damage is widespread in the state again this spring. Although the damage is very noticeable, it is not life-threatening to healthy trees.
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”, according to Barbara Burns, Vermont’s forest health program manager. 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. “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. Widespread yellowing of white pine needles also caused alarm in the spring of 2010.
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.