As Milford’s expert tree removal service, our licensed arborists at Arbor Green Tree Service LLC answer dozens of tree disease-related questions from property owners. Among the most common ones we get are:
- “What is white pine blister rust?”
- “What types of spores can spread from one tree to another in my backyard?”
- “What are the visible symptoms of a pine tree disease apart from yellowing or infected leaves?”
Pine blister rust affects thousands of trees from Nevada to Connecticut. Suburban tree populations are sometimes more susceptible to it because they lack the windbreaks and decaying vegetation that ones in deciduous forests enjoy. Many pine trees near roads and houses do not get sufficient moisture and soil nutrition, making them more vulnerable to fungal and insect infestations.
In this explainer, our tree care experts will outline the life cycle of pine blister rust and its long-term effects on trees and alternate hosts. If you suspect its presence in your front or backyard, call our helpline below for an inspection.
What Is White Pine Blister Rust?
Scientists believe white pine blister rust to come from the Miocene epoch, making it one of the oldest tree diseases in the arborist lexicon. It was first recorded in America in the early 1900s, when the Ribes plantation at Geneva, NY, was overrun with a type of spores that manifested as orange-colored powder.
White pine blister rust is a fungal infection that affects members of the Strobus subgenus, which includes every white pine specie from North America. In addition, concentrations in the Rocky Mountain Region show infections in whitebark pine, limber pine, Southwestern white pine, and Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine. Alternate hosts might include members of the Ribes genus, including gooseberries and currants.
The White Pine Blister Life Cycle
Whenever clients ask us, “What is pine blister rust?” they usually want to do more than learn how to detect it; they also want to determine its life cycle and figure out how to cut it short.
White pine blister rust manifests by killing entire branches, making sections of a tree crown appear orange and drying from a distance. Yellow needle spots will begin appearing on various pine species. Arborists call this process branch flagging.
White pine blister rust is usually harmless to plants and trees in the Ribes genus, but they infect neighboring pine trees through the basidiospores carried by the moist air currents from their leaves. Resinous diamond-shaped cankers swell on pine trees until they rupture with orange pustules. The infection will transfer from the branches into the main trunk until the trees die from malnutrition.
How Arborists Manage White Pine Blister Rust
Arborists stop white pine blister rust by pruning dead branches and eliminating sources of moisture near the needles. They can also prevent contact between gooseberry plants and white pine trees by planting resistant cultivars or landscape planning.