The Austrian pine is a rapid-growing conifer that can reach heights of 60 feet with a spread that is about two-thirds its height. This western European native develops into a natural pyramidal shape with strong branches and dark green needles. The Austrian pine tree is an adaptable and hardy tree that can withstand many soil and temperature variations and is relatively pest resistant. Still, this pine tree is susceptible to several tree diseases that can be injurious, if not fatal, to the tree when left untreated.
Diplodia Tip Blight
Diplodia tip blight is a fungal disease that develops in the dead needles and debris that rest on the ground around the tree. This fungal disease becomes active during the warm, wet days of the late spring and early summer. The fungal-causing spores of diplodia tip blight infect the tree by entering the pores of the needles and results in browning and deadening of the needles. Infected Austrian pine trees will show symptoms at the bottom of the tree first. As the disease progresses through the years, the symptoms will progress upwards through the tree. Outside of the browning and deadened needles, infected trees will experience growth stunt and defoliation. The disease can be controlled by pruning away the dead and diseased areas with sterile pruning shears that are disinfected between each cut. Symptoms of the disease can also be controlled with a potassium-bicarbonate-based fungicidal treatment.
Needlecast diseases are common predators of the Austrian pine. There are many variations of this disease as they are caused by various kinds of fungi. These diseases develop in the shelter of dead needles and tree debris that lie on the ground near the tree. The fungal spores germinate in the spring and travel by wind and rainfall onto the healthy needles of the Austrian pine. Infected trees develop brown and water-soaked needles. This fungal disease also creates small, oval-shape fungal bodies which are left on the needles of the tree. These fungal bodies create additional tree infections that move up the tree, attacking healthy needles. Infected areas should be pruned from the area with sterile pruning shears. Fungicidal applications can be used to control the symptoms of the disease.
Phytophthora Root Rot
Phytophthora root rot develops after long periods of standing water that saturates the soil. This fungal disease develops in the soil and attacks the Austrian pine through its root system. Infected trees will display wilted and browning needles, along with growth stunt and discolored root collars. Some infected trees will develop lesions on its woody areas and cankers may develop at the base of the trunk. Phytophthora root rot is easily prevented by maintaining well-drained planting areas for the Austrian pine. Soil fumigation is required to eliminate the disease from the soil. Infected trees cannot be cured and must be removed from the area.
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