What’s Wrong with the White Pine?
Its hard not to notice the brown needles on the White Pine trees and piles of them laying on the ground underneath them. Many people have asked me what is wrong with the trees. These trees are being attached by a fungal disease outbreak that may have been spurred on by wet and warm springs the past several years.
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation reports that at least two different needlecast diseases have been identified, the Brown Spot Needle Blight, caused by a fungus (Scirrhia acicola) and White Pine needlecast caused by another fungus (Canavirgella banfieldii). Late spring frosts, some of the worst on record in some areas, probably played a role too. Early warm spring followed by record cold, probably weakened the needles. These conditions have been reported throughout northern New England.
Most of the trees, if they are otherwise healthy, will fully recover. The needles will be shed and they may look a bit naked, but new shoots should grow normally and by July the trees will once again be green. Any trees that are still brown in mid-summer are weak trees that may not recover.