Longleaf pine trees are an interesting alternative to a more standard type of pine tree. The longleaf gets its name from the extremely long, twisted bundles of needles that hang from the tree's reddened brown bark. Longleaf pines do well in sandy or clay soils to the point that the longleaf is the state tree of Alabama. The longleaf is also on the decline in the United States so if you have longleaf(s) on your property, you should try to preserve the tree as well as possible.
One part of tree preservation is understanding what tree diseases can affect a particular type of tree. Here are three tree diseases that can affect the longleaf pine.
Brown Spot Needle Blight
The fungal disease brown spot needle blight causes dark spots to appear on the longleaf pine's needles. The spots will widen over time to the point that the fungus blocks out photosynthesis and thus kills the affected needles. In older trees, the disease mostly causes short-term cosmetic issues. But younger trees can shed more affected needles and experience slower growth than non-affected trees.
If you suspect that your young longleaf pine has brown spot needle blight, call in a tree service company as soon as possible. Application of fungicide after infection isn't as helpful as a preventive fungicidal regimen but the chemicals can still help slow down the disease's progression and could help your tree maintain a closer-to-normal growth progression.
Pitch canker is another fungal disease that can strike the longleaf pine. Symptoms start with the formation of shallow wound-shaped cankers on the bark of the tree. The interior of the canker will eventually turn black and the canker will start to seep a pitch material that gives the disease its name.
There is no post-infection treatment for pitch canker. But the canker normally only targets branches that have suffered from previous damage or that were in poor health already. Hire a tree trimming service to prune away affected branches as quickly as possible to stop the disease from progressing too far.
If the cankers take hold in the trunk, you will need to call a tree removal company to fully remove the tree.
Longleaf pines are naturally resistant to the fungal disease fusiform rust but resistant does not equal immune. The disease creates knob-shaped swollen sections on the bark that will later burst open and form seeping cankers. The problem is mostly cosmetic for the longleaf pine but branches with severe breakouts can die off.
Ask a tree trimming company, like Northwest Residential Arborist And Excavating, to prune off branches as soon as multiple knobs form and well before the knobs break open, which is when the disease spreads throughout the tree and into neighboring trees.