The Q&A Archives: pine tree problem

Question: We have mature pine trees and there are branches that have completely died. About 2o feet in the air--2 are in the side yard and one is in the back--what causes a healthy pine tree to start dying?? Sacramento co. in California..

Answer: If only a few of the branches are affected, you may be dealing with an insect problem. Borers are common in pines. Or, it could be Needle Blight. Symptoms include needles dying with the needles being the only part of tree affected. So, you will want to closely inspect the tree. Look first at the needles on the affected branches. With a needle blight, the needles develop yellow or tan spots which turn into brown or reddish bands; needles die from the bands outward; the needle base remains green. Or, look for holes in the branches (indicating borers). Once you've narrowed down the probable cause you can contact your local cooperative extension office (4145 Branch Center Rd, Sacramento, CA 95827-3823, (916) 875-6913) for controls or remedies available in your area. Best wishes with your pines.

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