Answer: White Pine Blister Rust is caused by Cronarium ribicola, a fungus that can attack five-needle pines. The alternate hosts are currants and gooseberries. Spores of this disease are carried by the wind from pines to the alternate hosts, and back to the pines again. Your pines may never develop this disease, but rather than tempting fate, why not choose plants that are not alternate hosts for the fungal spores?
Wintergreen, blueberries, black or red raspberries, lingonberries or huckleberries are wonderfully hardy plants that grow well near pines and provide tasty fruit as an added bonus.
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