Is My Pine Tree Sick or Dying?
Signs Your Pine Tree Isn’t Feeling Well
If your tree is sick or dying it will give you several clear signs. The problem is, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, they’re easy to miss. If you notice any of these things happening to your tree, you need to take action right away.
1. Discolored Needles
This is one of the most noticeable signs that something is wrong with your tree. The pines will start to turn brown. This may happen in sections, such as the bottom half, middle, or top half of your tree.
But you’ll need to take a closer look than that.
Examine a few pine needles from different parts of the tree and check for any brown spots. Do you see any brown stripes or brown clumps in the center? That might mean your tree has a disease.
2. Needles Dropping Early
There’s no need to be worried about the pine needles falling off with the season. (While many pine trees keep their needs all year long, trees that are two to three years old will change color and drop their needles near the beginning of fall.) The problem starts if your tree is dropping its needles early or often.
3. Spots on the Pinecones
If there are small black spots on your pinecones, your tree has a fungal disease. This disease can also turn the needles brown, so it’s a good idea to check your pinecones as soon as you notice any discoloration on the needles.
4. Pealing Bark
Is there a small section of peeling bark on your pine tree? That might not be a problem. Sometimes animals, such as woodpeckers, can cause this to happen in small sections of your tree.
However, if you see a lot of bark peeling off your tree in large spots, that’s a sure sign something is wrong.
5. Broken Spots or Weak Spots
Pine trees should be able to hold the weight of their branches without a problem. While it’s not uncommon for a tree to drop a branch every once in a while, especially during a storm, it shouldn’t be losing branches often.
Some types of fungal diseases can weaken the integrity of your tree. This can cause the branches to crack, hang at odd angles, and even fall off, which can become a safety hazard.
6. Holes or Sawdust on the Branches
To bugs and other pests, your beautiful pine tree is an attractive dinner. Bark beetles, for example, will burrow into your tree and make their home inside the wood, breading and eating there.
If you have any of these pests in your tree, you’ll see small holes on the branches or trunk, and you might even see little specs of sawdust on or around the plant.
In most cases, these pests won’t attack a healthy tree. As long as you take good care of your pine tree, you shouldn’t have to worry about this problem.
7. Leaking Sap
Seeing some sap on your tree is normal. What’s not normal, though, is finding thick “waterfalls” all over your tree. Depending on the disease afflicting your tree, the sap might even turn white—a bad sign.
8. Large Cankers
Some diseases will cause large cankers to form over your tree. These can cause all kinds of problems, such as weakening the tree or attracting pests, so you’ll want to address them as quickly as possible.
Putting a Stop to Pine Tree Diseases: A Few Tricks to Try
Saving a sick tree can be a difficult, and sometimes impossible, task, but there are a few tricks that can help you pull it off. If you aren’t sure what to try, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an expert first.
First thing’s first: if there’s something wrong with your tree, you need to take care of it as fast as you can. If the disease or pest problem progresses too far, there might be nothing you can do to save it.
Give It More Water
If you’re lucky, the solution to your problem might simply be to give your tree more water. During the summer or other sry spells, your tree might have trouble staying hydrated, which causes the needles to turn brown. Watering the roots should turn those needles green again.
Treat It With Fungicide or Pesticide
If the disease or pest problem hasn’t progressed too far, you might be able to treat your tree with fungicide or pesticide. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before you apply anything, though. Otherwise, you might accidentally do more harm than good.
Prune Infected Areas
In some cases, you might be able to cut off the infected branches and prevent the disease from spreading any farther. But this doesn’t always work.
It’s a good idea to prune your tree often to remove any dead or dying branches. This will help keep the diseases and pests away from the start.
Have an Expert Take a Look
Call an expert to come and examine your tree. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment plan. Even if you think you know what’s wrong, it’s still a good idea to get a professional opinion to ensure you aren’t missing something.
How to Find the Right Help for Your Tree
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to cure many of these pine tree diseases. If the affliction has spread too far, the only option might be to remove the tree in order to keep the disease or pests from spreading. To avoid injury and other safety concerns, you should find an Arizona professional to take care of this step.
Not sure where to find the right help?