Scots Pine Spots


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Mooresville, NC - USA
Hello everyone. I have a scots pine that is starting to get brown spots on the needles. I noticed it yesterday, and there are more today. Any ideas what it is, and anything i can do to save it? Also, what have i done might have caused it. Thanks alot for any advice.


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It's a guess only, but do a search for Needle Cast and see if some of the images look like what your tree has...
Don't quote me on this, but that doesn't look quite like needle cast to me.

I would do a google image search of all the possible fungi diseases and pest infestation that are out there.

Judging by the pale brown color, it looks like there may be some sort of mite infestation.
Its definately spreading to other branches, and nothing is on the needles. They seem to be turning more brown. It started the other day with dotted like specs on the needles. Now some of the needles are all brown, but the branch is still very green underneath. Here are some more pics so you might be able to tell more. Thanks again. Im looking for pictures of needle cast, so ill let you know. They almost look a little pale yellow, or beige color. The tree had scale about two months ago, and was treated the last time about 3 weeks ago with a fungicide spray.


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I found something similar today on a Huangshan,we just had icy weather and a thaw and some late needles that had formed about the apex buds look rather similar.
Same here, we are just coming out of the coldest 3 weeks weve had in a long time. It was down into the teens every night for a week, and has been in the low twenties. The branches are still very green under the bark, but this just started appearing on monday night or so.
It looks like a fungal infection. I would suggest spraying with Captan, an Ortho product if you can find it. Should stop it and wont hurt the tree. When did you wire the tree? It is possible that the cambium was damaged when wiring causing branches to die, unlikely but worth a look.
It was wired at the end of september, the 22nd. Thanks for the info Vance. It has definately gotten worse in a couple days.
It's a guess only, but do a search for Needle Cast and see if some of the images look like what your tree has...

First thing I thought of, too. Needle cast is a fungal infection, by the way, and is not related to exposure to cold temps, but actually, warm, rainy, humid weather in the spring time (helps the fungal organism spread).
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Given the unnusual deeply cold December we've had on the East Coast, along with the heavy winds, I wouldn't rule out a root/soil issue...Infections usually don't spread that quickly. Dead roots, however, can cause extensive dieback in a few days--after the soil has begun to thaw and the tree starts using its roots again.
It was almost like it started when the snow started to melt from saturdays storm. Is there anything that should be done?
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I was going to pick of the stuff with obvious cell death to forestall any opportunistic pathogens but became embroiled in other matters.

I think i will do a bit of snipping tomorrow.
It was almost like it started when the snow started to melt from saturdays storm. Is there anything that should be done?

I would spray it with a fungicide such as Captan. I would also make sure it is not sitting in water but slightly up off the ground. It is possible there is a root problem going on here but usually that kind of thing does not appear till spring.
Might want to pop it (gently) out of the pot and see if the roots are a sloppy mess, if not put it back in and watch the watering.

If it's not a mess then handling can do this type of "damage" to the needles.

If it is a mess then some good bonsai soil, and a place where it won't freeze would be in order.
I have them on a slope to make sure water runs off under the mulch. My wife is picking up some captan on her way home. I took it out of the pot, and there are brown roots, but some that are black, i grabbed one of the black ones, and it came right off where i touched it. It could use repotting, but i dont think its totally pot bound. My teacher said we would repot this spring, and i got it from him. I dont see any tiny white feeder roots. It is wet, but doesnt seem drenched. It is planted in bonsai soil and doesnt look like its broken down. Would pictures help?
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Can you bring it to your teacher? He is hopefully not only familiar with the tree but also with the appearence of fungal disease and/or root issues and be able to advise you going forward.
I am taking it tomorrow. He just answered my email, so hopefully will know tomorrow. Ill let everyone know what we come up with. Thanks again.
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I just got back and we think it is just a chemical burn to the needles. I used an insecticidal soap, and probably should be using something different for the pines. The buds are still green, and the branches are very green, so he said it would be ok. Thanks for all the help, and ill keep you posted.
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