If you live in the Kansas City area you’ve probably noticed the large numbers of dead or dying pine trees. It’s a heartbreaking sight, pine trees are a wonderful complement to any landscape and their year round greenery is a boost when winter seems to go on forever.
Many trees and plants die because homeowners fail to adhere to a regular watering schedule, but many other factors can play a harsh role as well.
The most prevalent killer of pine trees is known as Pine Wilt Disease and was first found in Missouri in the late 1970s. It’s most common in Scotch, Austrian, Japanese Black, White Pines and Loblolly pines.
The disease is caused by the Pinewood nematode, which are carried to the tree by the Pine Sawyer Beetle. The nematode will leave the host insect’s body and enter through feeding wounds left by the beetle.
The nematode then moves into the resin canals of the tree. This causes blockage of the canals, which stops the flow of water and nutrients and the pine tree literally dies from the inside.
Needles on the tree will turn brown often from the top downward. It’s a tragic site as the disease moves from tree to tree, often leaving a line of dead and dying pines creeping toward the next victim.
Death can come to the tree quickly, often within a month. Unfortunately there is no cure for pine wilt disease. Olympic Lawn and Landscape recommends removing infected trees as soon as possible. Chip, bury or burn the wood and be sure and grind the stump.
If you just can’t live without pine trees you might try these wilt resistant varieties such as Shortleaf, Jack, or Eastern White Pine.
For more landscaping advice for your home call us at (816) 875-9296!