The Q&A Archives: White Stuff on Pine

Question: We bought a live Eastern White Pine to use as a Christmas tree. After removing it from the house I noticed it had some white cottony looking substance on the trunk and branches. What is it and should it be treated or will the remaining cold weather take care of the problem?

Answer: If you didn't have the tree flocked, what you're probably seeing is the protective coating of an insect called Adelgid. These little guys suck the juices from needles, but unless there's a huge population, they normally don't do enough damage to a tree to warrant spraying. Try removing a few of the cottony masses and peeling away the fluff. You should see a tiny green insect. You can try hosing them off with a strong stream of water.

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