Black pine needle cast

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I know there are some expert black pine guys around here that may be able to shed some light on this problem. Several of my pines are showing signs of needle cast. Some more severe than others. How do you identify the cause\ treatment. I have already sprayed copper fungicide and lime sulfur, when should I start to see signs of relief? How do I know whether this is a pest moth or fungus or something else?
 

0soyoung

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Nope, not if it is needle cast. The needle cast fungus is inside the needle with the yellow band. Pulling the needle or cutting it below the yellow band is the only way to be rid of the yellow bands.

The issue though, is you may have the fungal spores laying around on the other normal looking needles and now or soon to be working its way into those needles. You spray now to kill those spores so your nice green needles won't be developing yellow bands later this spring.

My advice: Remove the affected needles and discard in them appropriately. Continue seasonal anti-fungal spraying. When you've had several seasons with no needle cast on your tree(s) nor on pines in your neighborhood, you can stop, and hope for the best.
 
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Thank you for the information. I haven't noticed so much yellow banding as I have seen tip browning\yellowing or dieback. Is this an insect issue? Thanks again for the response.
 

Adair M

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Thank you for the information. I haven't noticed so much yellow banding as I have seen tip browning\yellowing or dieback. Is this an insect issue? Thanks again for the response.
Photographs would help.

Needlecast is a chronic problem with JBP.

In addition to what Osoyoung recommended, I apply Clearys 3336. It's a systemic fungicide.
 

Adair M

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You might have a little needlecast, but not too bad. Old needles tend to show their age by yellowing at the tips.

I see someone decandled a few shoots rather late. It looks like you will get new shoots there, I see some buds, but you won't be able to decandle until the summer of 2018 on those.
 

BunjaeKorea

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I inherited a tree (got it free from the shop because they thought it would die) with some needle cast but really the problem looked similar to yours and the main issue was the tree had not hibernated properly and was continually kept in a green house with too much damp. Solution I found was to leave it in belting sun and try give it as much RAIN water as possible plus an old Korean trick of one part rice beer to ten parts water to stimulate fungal growth. What soil is it growing in? Mine are all in 마사토 which is essentially very fine gravel with a smidgen of bark in the mix. Try to isolate it from other trees and not overstress the tree.
 

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I actually don't see much needle cast. I think you may be concerned with the yellowing/browning at the needle tip - that doesn't suggest a fungal issue to me. With needle cast, the first symptoms are small yellow spots on needles less than one year old. These develop in the winter or early spring. The yellow spots will turn brown and expand to form bands of discoloration about 1/4" wide that span the entire needle. The tissue beyond the band will eventually turn brown and die while the base of the needle will stay green. The infected needles will begin to prematurely drop in the late spring through early summer. I can share my notes on needle cast, but I really don't think that's what's causing the discoloration you see on the tips of the needles.
 
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markyscott

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Usually I associate browning/yellowing tips with a soil problem. It looks like it's planted in an OK medium, but I wonder about this:

IMG_5396.PNG

What do you think is causing the algal growth immediately above the core of the rootball? I'm guessing it staying wetter than the surrounding soil. Lots of people will tell you that if you use a colander like what I think this tree is planted in, your soil will drain better. But it's just not true - it will drain FASTER, but not BETTER. Your soil determines how much water is retained, not the pot. Think about your soil as though it were a sponge. If you placed a sponge in a pot, would it hold more or less water than it would sitting out on your counter? Of course we'd all recognize that the water in the sponge doesn't care if it's in a pot or not - it holds exactly the same amount of water. It's exactly the same with your soil.

So one reason it could be staying wet and causing the algal growth is that the core of the rootball still possesses the old field/potting soil it was originally grown in. An overly wet rootball core could also cause all the browning/yellowing needle tips you see. All the fungal treatments in the world won't help this situation. Do you feel as though you've carefully removed ALL of the old field/potting soil in the rootball and replaced it with the pumice-based medium we see?

Scott
 
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bonhe

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Hi BonsaiButler,
I agree with Adair M and Markyscott. I don't see fungal infection in your trees. Like Adair M stated, the yellow tips are due to the needle age.
The algae is seen on soil surface due to retained moisture in this area by:
- No sunlight (fertilizer bag, broad leaf, pot direction to the sunlight, etc...)
- Poor drainage due to old soggy soil in this area.

Prevention is much more important than treatment.
- Do not "water the tree" when it has no sunlight. Especially you are living in OR which humidity is rather high all year around, I think.
- Avoid the above causes if you could.
Bonhe
 
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tha
Usually I associate browning/yellowing tips with a soil problem. It looks like it's planted in an OK medium, but I wonder about this:

View attachment 130103

What do you think is causing the algal growth immediately above the core of the rootball? I'm guessing it staying wetter than the surrounding soil. Lots of people will tell you that if you use a colander like what I think this tree is planted in, your soil will drain better. But it's just not true - it will drain FASTER, but not BETTER. Your soil determines how much water is retained, not the pot. Think about your soil as though it were a sponge. If you placed a sponge in a pot, would it hold more or less water than it would sitting out on your counter? Of course we'd all recognize that the water in the sponge doesn't care if it's in a pot or not - it holds exactly the same amount of water. It's exactly the same with your soil.

So one reason it could be staying wet and causing the algal growth is that the core of the rootball still possesses the old field/potting soil it was originally grown in. An overly wet rootball core could also cause all the browning/yellowing needle tips you see. All the fungal treatments in the world won't help this situation. Do you feel as though you've carefully removed ALL of the old field/potting soil in the rootball and replaced it with the pumice-based medium we see?

Scott


Thank you everyone for the input.
Scott- I also had my doubts about this being needle cast. I slip potted this tree 2 years ago in to almost 100% pumice/Lava mix. I did not disturb the rootball at that time because it was late summer. There is so much to learn about pines and at times is very intimidating. As for the algae growing there it is just an old fertilizer bag that had fish meal/cottonseed meal in it and rotted away.

I feel like most of my pines are not as green as they should be, and some are still in original soil..should I begin re-potting them in the spring?
thanks again for the reply.
 

0soyoung

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I did not disturb the rootball at that time because it was late summer. There is so much to learn
Late summer is a great time to repot pines, spruce, fir, juniper, .... conifers.

Black pine roots are rather weak, so to get them out of organic 'potting soil' you should do what we affectionately refer to as HBR (Half Bare Root) - half 'this' season; the other half the next season (2 years!).
 
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I suppose going forward I will rake out half the root-ball then transplant to pond baskets and
fertilize heavy this spring.
 

markyscott

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...I slip potted this tree 2 years ago in to almost 100% pumice/Lava mix. I did not disturb the rootball at that time because it was late summer...
That sounds like a fine mix. If you did not disturb the rootball, I take that to mean it's still in potting soil and you slip potted it into the colander and added pumice/lava. If that's the case, I'm guessing a root problem is what's causing the browing tips.
...As for the algae growing there it is just an old fertilizer bag that had fish meal/cottonseed meal in it and rotted away...
That's good
...I feel like most of my pines are not as green as they should be, and some are still in original soil...
Healthy black pine foliage should be a dark green color.
I suppose going forward I will rake out half the root-ball then transplant to pond baskets and fertilize heavy this spring.
Absolutely! This sounds like the perfect solution.
 

ChuckP

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Wouldn't treating needle cast or other fungal infections with a systemic fungicide inhibit mycorrhiza?
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Wouldn't treating needle cast or other fungal infections with a systemic fungicide inhibit mycorrhiza?
University / Forestry studies published some time ago, seem to say that Daconil and Cleary's 3336 do not seem to affect mycorrhiza. This is not necessarily true for other fungicides.
 

ChuckP

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Thanks. I'll spray and soil drench the infected JBP with Thiomyl (same as Cleary's 3336), check the mycorrhiza in a couple of weeks, and report back.
 

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