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Eastern White Pine Dieback in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Other author:
Thomas D. Whitney
Ashley N. Schulz
Christopher Asaro
Michelle M. Cram
Rima D. Lucardi

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is the most widely distributed pine species in the eastern U.S. It is the only pine species native to the Southern Appalachian Mountain region that has five needles. Eastern white pine has a remarkable growth rate on a variety of soils and grows as tall or taller than most trees in the region. It can be found in many different forest types, providing important habitat for wildlife. Eastern white pine is used as a Christmas tree species, and its bark and resin are used for construction materials, extracts, and many other products.

A new threat to eastern white pine has emerged. Symptoms include yellowing of needles, dying branches, and oozing resin. These symptoms, as well as death of seedlings and saplings, are associated with Caliciopsis canker, a disease caused by a pathogen well-known in the northeastern U.S. This pathogen is aided by a native but little-known insect, the eastern white pine bast scale, which creates feeding wounds that fungi use to infect trees. In the Southern Appalachians, the eastern white pine bast scale was first reported in Virginia and West Virginia in 2006-2007 and in Georgia in 2010. However, reports of Caliciopsis canker date back to the 1930s. This appears to be a newly described insect-pathogen complex, and symptoms are now present in the entire range of eastern white pine to varying degrees.

Topic Area:
Forest Management
Publication Type: