Pine Needle Cast

What sort of treatments do you folks use for needle pine cast? How often are you spraying? Is there an effective systemic for needle cast? Any other suggestions on treating needle cast are appreciated. I am in the Southeast usa if it matters. Thanks

Wow, good question. I haven’t seen much needle cast, but from what I understand it can be tricky to control. Have you had any successes with it in the past?

As far as fungicides go, finding an effective approach usually begins with identifying the cast disease as different needle cast diseases strike at different times with differing symptoms and respond differently to various controls. A number of university agriculture departments will ID or run plates to identify diseases either by mail or during drop-in hours - that might be one option.

Some primary principles of control include preventing further infections, either on the same tree or between trees. Cleaning tools between cuts with alcohol may help, especially when working on multiple trees in the same pruning session.

Avoiding excessive moisture may also help. This includes using soil that drains well and ensuring trees don’t stay too wet, especially in warm rainy seasons.

I’ll be curious to hear if people have found successful strategies for battling needle cast.

This is all in regards to Japanese Black Pine:

I have a batch of pines that came from a friend. Due to underwatering, lack of fertilizer and lack of general care for the last couple years almost all of them have some needle cast. At it’s least, it just causes some banding on the needles. As it progresses it will kill entire branches.

I’ve controlled it mainly by eliminating the infected branches and needles. It does spread apparently by spores in the spring. So, decandling actually short-circuits the cycle of the fungus by removing the infected needles and forcing the tree to grow new ones. To control it:

  • I use alcohol on tools between using them on different trees
  • I eliminate infected branches
  • I pull any needles that have the characteristic banding as soon as I notice them.
  • During fall cleanup I’ve been careful to cleanup and debris around the trees in the yard that may harbor the fungus.
  • I spray with Neem oil on infected trees. I’ve read various directions on fungicide bottles that say two spring sprayings of fungicide while needles are emerging on pines will control the spread of needle cast.

Take a look at the attached photo. You can see the stomata on the needle, and in the infected area they appear to have fungal bodies coming out of them. (And check out those healthy rows of stomata on the needle!)

Hi guys
I live in a warm /humid area(Brasil),and here needle cast(lophodermium),can be lethal to black pines.I´m fighting them for 3 month,and now seems to be under control.
Maybe my approach is not an example to anyone,but with hard infections( like the one I have here)only with a specific program of fungicide I got better days.That mean:daconil and mancozeb once a week alternating…on a 6 week program.
I know that is a lot of chemicals around,but…

For a good overall summary on needle cast check out Anton Nijhuis website with a very good article.

In general copper fungicides are considered the best in treating this problem. Tom