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Decline of Eastern White Pine in Eastern Massachusetts

Overview

Eastern White Pine 2

The Eastern white pine tree was designated as the official state tree of Maine in 1945, which has been coined as the “The Pine Tree State” and appears on Maine’s state flag and seal. In 1955, the state of Michigan also chose the Eastern white pine to be their official state tree as a symbol of their logging history. The Eastern white pine is considered to be one of the largest conifer trees in the north eastern United States. Since 2009, the Eastern white pine has been experiencing dieback and general decline, which is a great concern regarding one of the most economically valuable and ecologically important forest trees in the northeast. Recently, the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) posted information that begins to explain the reason for these symptoms of decline. According Dr. Nick Brazee, a plant pathologist at the UMass Amherst, it is a combination of climate change, several fungal pathogens, and a particular species of insects that are responsible for the decline in the Eastern white pines.

White Pine Needle Drop (WPND)

Disease is primarily responsible for the symptoms of declining pines, namely premature needle drop, yellowing of needles, resinosis, dieback of canopy, and branch and tree death. WPND is caused by several fungal pathogens. Once you see the needles begin to become discolored (yellow/brown), it is usually the cause of the root pathogens due to it affecting the entirety of the tree. At the same time, the environment for spore activity and germination has been fueled by the increase in temperatures and precipitation in the northeast region of the United States.

Caliciopsis Canker & Bast Scale

Caliciopsis Pine Canker Jen WeimerAnother fungus and insect complex that is also partially responsible for the dieback of Eastern white pines are the caliciopsis canker and white pine bast scale. Bast scale is tiny, black, oval-shaped scales that lack both eyes and legs. Bast scale use a long stylet to drain sap from outer layers of phloem (tissue) of twigs and branches. White pine bast scales live under lichens, which are slow growing plants that form crusty leaflike growth on rocks and trees. These have been found on white pine branches. 

Recently, the white pine bast scale has been identified as a catalyst for the development of caliciopsis canker in white pine trees. Although the bast scale causes almost no damage to the tree, the feeding areas that they produce are extremely conducive to the development of caliciopsis cankers in trees. The primary problem with an outbreak of caliciopsis cankers is that they cause dead areas in the tree’s tissue and as more cankers develop, the affected branches will eventually be unable to disperse the water into the foliage and in which case, the tree will die. Root rot diseases can also affect the dieback of white pines, and will be addressed in a future post.

Conclusion

Young White Pine

In conclusion, tree thinning, or selective removal of branches, of existing white pines aids in the reduction of WPND by increasing radial growth, promoting crown vigor, and an overall general reduction in WPND. Many arborists have also found that fertilizing the tree with nitrogen can help to restore vigor, especially to trees highly stressed from WPND. Fungicide applications are often impractical for large trees or multiple trees, but focused applications on specimen or very young white pines can be helpful to control WPND. It has become clear that the issues affecting white pines are not going away any time soon, but can be controlled using an experienced, dedicated team of arborists.

If you have any questions, or you are interested in any of our tree services, please contact us at 877-308-8733, or request a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Request A Free Consultation

Bob Lees, MCLP

Photo of Caliciopsis Canker Courtesy of Jen Weimer

Kelp Your Trees!

A New Way To Promote Healthy Trees & Shrubs

Want to Kelp Your Trees?

Are your trees and shrubs looking stressed from the weather we have been having? Are they not blooming or vibrant in color like they used to? Consider an all-natural bio-stimulant treatment to boost growth and to promote optimal health. A soil drench of our kelp treatment can help add over 50 vitamins and minerals. Kelp contains almost every micro-nutrient in a fully chelated (immediately available) form. The algae is also full of carbohydrates, which plants use as building blocks of plant cells and are essential for plant growth. We only use the kelp species Ascophyllum nodosum, which is found only in the Atlantic Ocean. This species of kelp is known to contain the highest concentrations of micro-nutrients (magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, etc...), and is the most desirable kelp used in the organic plant health industry.

The Kelp Process

How can you spray, inject or drench a plant with Kelp? Good question! What happens is that the kelp is collected from the Atlantic Ocean which is then washed to remove salt, and then it is dried and turned into a powder. This powder is then used to create a liquid that we are able to spray, inject and drench with. Kelp has naturally occurring plant growth hormones known as gibberellins and cytokines. These hormones help promote a variety of benefits for plants. The kelp is harvested in a responsible manner and due to kelp's growth rate it is a highly renewable and ample source. Growth enhancement has been attributed to the presence of plant growth regulators (plant hormones). Ascophyllum is loaded with auxin, growth stimulants and amino acids – all of which help promote root growth and build cell wall strength. Kelp Treatment is administered throughout the year to optimize the benefits.

Kelp Treatment

Benefits of Kelp (seaweed extract)

Kelp's many benefits include an effective method proven helpful in combating plant stress. Seaweed extract is a good source of potassium, and contains the many micro-nutrients that plants need for optimal health. Kelp will also help promote root growth and build cell wall strength. Why is cell wall strength important? Strong cell walls resist disease, ward off insects, and retain water more effectively. All these improvements promote chlorophyll production, cell division and elongation and increase cell wall permeability. Seaweed extract is valued for its ability to encourage trees and shrubs to more effectively draw nutrients from soil and fertilizers. As an example of the enhancement; compare drinking out of a coffee stir for a long period of time and then suddenly you're given a normal straw. The amount of flow and volume is increased exponentially. The kelp is a soil conditioner that also stimulates the soils bacteria which increases the fertility of the soil and also moisture retention. The cation exchange capacity (CEC) can be improved increasing the likelihood of nutrients being grabbed. After your plants receive the Kelp Treatment you will likely see your plants have darker green foliage, larger more compact root system, increased flower production and enhanced color and bloom over a period of time. It’s best to keep plants in vigorous state of health so they are able to fight off insects, disease and maintain their optimal health.

Below is a list of benefits from using our Kelp Treatment Program:

  1. Promotes plant growth and vigorous root system
  2. Increases the ability to tolerate and recover from stress
  3. Increases cell wall permeability
  4. Increases translocation of water
  5. Stimulates cell division and elongation
  6. Promotes chlorophyll production
  7. Larger root system
  8. Darker green foliage
  9. Increase flower production
  10. Enhance color and bloom
  11. Advantageous for new transplants
  12. Fruit less prone to softening and grow larger

We provide the applications up to three visits yearly. Call us to help increase your tree and shrubs ability to tolerate and recover from stress.

If you have any questions, or you are interested in any of our tree services, please contact us at 877-308-8733, or request a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Request Kelp Treatment

Sycamore Anthracnose Defoliates Trees

We have seen widespread defoliation of Sycamore trees this year due to Sycamore Anthracnose.

sycamore_anthracnose_

A picture of a Sycamore that has been affected by Sycamore Anthracnose

For those of you who do not know what Sycamore Anthracnose is, it is a fungal pathogen that is generally related to wet spring weather. Unfortunately wet spring weather is what we have been seeing a lot of. It infects newly developing shoots and leaves causing the buds to have very slow development to leaf out in the spring, or in some cases never leaf out. 

Signs and Symptoms of Sycamore Anthracnose

Infecting the vascular system of a tree this fungal disease attacks buds, leaves and twigs, defoliating the trees and damaging the small branches. Sycamore Anthracnose spreads from an infected tree to healthy ones when its fungal spores are transported by the wind. 

sycamore_anthracnose_fig2

 

 

 

 

 

Signs that a Sycamore tree is suffering from this disease:

  • Leaf blight or defoliation early in the summer
  • Twisted or gnarled branches or twigs
  • Formations of dead or dying twigs and small branches also called "witches brooms"
  • Lesions on leaves that are black or brown in color
  • Sunken cankers on younger twigs or small branches

 Managing the Disease

From what we see these trees should re-foliate this year. In order to really get a handle on this disease to make sure it does not spread to a healthy tree. We recommend looking into some treatment plans.

Deep root fertilization is recommended to help invigorate trees as they have been stressed by the Anthracnose. This will give the tree the push it needs to flush new growth along with the help of warmer and drier weather. 

Early season treatment with fungicide applications or injection can help manage this disease. Contact an arborist today to come assess your trees and see what treatment would be best for you. 

If you have any questions, or you are interested in any of our tree services, please contact us at 877-308-8733, or request a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Request A Free Consultation

Extreme Spring Weather Causing Extreme Plant Response

Weeping Cherry Trees Negatively Affected

As many of you have already noticed we have not been having the beautiful spring weather we deserve. This gloomy, cold and rainy weather is causing issues for our trees and plants in our area. 

According to Jackie Carroll's article on Gardeningknowhow.com, she explains that Weeping Cherry Trees "grow and bloom best in full sun, but they tolerate light shade". Without well drained soil these trees are more prone to rot which is what we have been seeing this season. A Weeping Cherry Tree should look like the picture below during the spring with the pink flowers.

                      Weeping Cherry Tree Bloom 2   Weeping Cherry Trees across north shore

With the lack of sunlight this spring along with constant cold and wet weather it has caused plants to develop tender soft growth. The other picture is an example of what Weeping Cherry Trees we have been seeing in our area due to the "not so nice" weather. This is what they will look like when they defoliate earlier than the norm. This DOES NOT mean your tree is dying. Although, it is more vulnerable to plant diseases, especially fungus diseases. 

More issues you may see during this summer caused by this weather:

  • Leaves may brown and have damage
  • Barks of trees may develop oozing cankers
  • The Holly leaves may drop early
  • Tar spots on Maple trees

Solution

With all this negative talk about how our trees and plants will be affected, what can we do about it?

Unfortunately with fungus diseases there is not much you can do to prevent it. Once found, there are different treatment plans that can take care of it. This would be a time to contact a certified arborist to come take a look and give you the run down on what treatments would be best for your tree or shrub. 

 

If you have any questions, or you are interested in any of our tree services, please contact us at 877-308-8733, or request a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

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