Your Thoughts on Austrian Pines & Tip Issue

CuddyValleyJune 21, 2014

Hello all,

Wanted some feedback on the condition of the 4 year old Austrian Pines I planted over the past few months. I also have a tip die back issue on most of the trees I'm not sure the cause of and some of the trees seem to be changing color from their original darker green to a paler green. I noted a small beetle on two of the trees - see image - that I need to identify as friend or foe.

40 of these trees were planted. All came from Wisconsin to Central California. Here is one of my original posts here.

Any thoughts on condition would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


This post was edited by CuddyValley on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 1:08

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    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:58AM
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Tree Condition

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:59AM
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Tree Condition

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:00AM
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Tree Condition

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Tree Condition

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:03AM
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Tree Condition

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:05AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

The needles in the first pic look like they have needlecast (fungus) infection. Austrian pine is susceptible & is not a good choice for hot, humid east US conditions. Bottom line -- unless you are willing to spray such a tree regularly w/fungicides, there's nothing to do if it's needlecast.

Edit: OK, you're apparently in CA. Still, looks like needlecast, tho I'd have thought it'd be safe from needlecast there. Not sure....

This post was edited by beng on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 7:38

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 7:35AM
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If whole branches start dying then PWN could be your villain.

Pinus sylvestris and nigra have disappeared from the Midwest over the last five years. There is no treatment for this.

One thing in your favor they usually attack more mature trees in a forest setting.

Fungus or needle cast are real possibilities.

Call your county extension agent for positive identification to your issues.


Here is a link that might be useful: PWN

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:48PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Have they been getting any supplemental water? It appears they are being grown in a fairly dry location judging by the surrounding vegetation. I know they can endure dry conditions because I see them growing in George, Wa., next to Sagebrush, which is one of the driest locations in Washington State. I would think that some extra water would help them get off to a better start without showing signs of lack of water.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:06PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I planted over the past few months. I also have a tip die back issue on most of the trees I'm not sure the cause of and some of the trees seem to be changing color

==>>> i dont know how you jump to disease with recent transplants ...

i could ALL be CAUSED by transplant shock ...

define a couple months... were they planted at proper planting time???

how did you plant them .. amendments???

sticks is the best you can do for mulch ... wait a minute.. do i have some very vague recollection of this project ... can you link us to the prior post... is or was this the recommended plant??? [i saw your llink.. and reviewed such .... but where is the one where we discussed different pines???]

did you diversify????

and why havent the buds broken ... cripe... i mean crikey .. even in my cold MI .. buds are extending ...

though disease is a possibility.. on a stressed plant... on a recent transplant ... the stress of planting .. can cause the yellowing.. the tissue damage .. which will then lead to what looks like .... or may be disease ... but solving the disease.. if there is one ... doenst really solve the underlying stress ...

the bug doesnt bother me... unless you can ID that it is actually chewing on the plant ... besides.. i dont feel that slathering on chems to kill bugs.. really helps an already stressed tree ...

do you see any bud extension???


    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:09PM
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bluecone(Central Texas8b)

I agree with mikebotann - keep them well watered, if possible not letting the soil dry out around their roots for the first year they're in the ground. A thorough soaking 3 times a week usually does the trick.

They may lose a year's growth due to transplant shock, but they look healthy enough to still survive provided you keep their roots always moist during the first year.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Beng, Dave, Mike, Ken & Blue, many thanks for your comments, suggestions and advice.

Dave, I did contact the Kern County Extension and the reply is below.

Mike, testing moisture a few tie a week and watering as necessary. 4-6 days depending on temperature. Using high quality private well water.

Ken, planted the trees in April/May. No soil amendments.
Soil tests show:
PH: 7.0
Phosphorus: Surplus (Color deeper than "Surplus" chart color)
Potash: Sufficient
Nitrogen: Surplus (Color deeper than "Surplus" chart color)

I did not diversify. Austrian Pine, Jeffery, Ponderosa, Pinyon all discussed.

Buds are breaking on almost all of the trees.
No insects chewing on the needles I can see with the naked eye.

My concern was over the yellowing and some tip dieback. I’m a little jumpy after losing 400 potted spruce trees last year that were doing beautifully right before they were to go into the ground.

Probably nothing more than transplant stress.

Blue, I have not the roots dry out since planting. I’m watering from a 250 gallon tank on my pick-up by hand over a few acres where these trees were planted. A well will be drilled next year.

Over the weekend I added fresh cedar mulch around all the trees over the native mulch I initially used around them. The pine needles were designating into the soil leaving mostly the cones and twigs.

Thanks again for all the feedback.

County Extension Email

>>>Brian Marsh forwarded your request to me as the horticulture advisor here with the most relevant background for your questions.

Looking at the photos, I would say the trees look good overall, but it is early to say how they will do since we are only about two months after planting. In my experience, planting pines works best in the fall, but let's see how it goes. Austrian pine should be adapted if you are at 4000 ft or above. The whorls of buds look good and promise future growth.

Tip dieback in pines is a general response to stress. The lighter green is an indication of high pH and or nitrogen deficiency. It is possible the pH is really 7.0, which is a little high for pines but should be OK. It is harder for me to believe that nitrogen is surplus unless you've added some. However, young trees don't need a lot of N. I don't think the beetle is of any significance for your trees.

What I don't know is how you are irrigating these trees. They will need to be irrigated approximately weekly right on top of the root ball for about two months, and then irrigation can be moved to the surrounding soil, since by then roots should have extended.

I assume you planted these B&B or maybe out of containers, and the planting process went OK. These are nice looking pines, whoever the nursery or grower may have been.

John Karlik
Advisor, Environmental Horticulture
661 868-6220
From: Brian Marsh []
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2014 9:55 AM
To: John Karlik
Subject: FW: Austrian Pine Tree Condition
Brian H. Marsh, Ph.D.
County Director/Farm Advisor
UC Cooperative Extension - Kern County
(661) 868-6210 office
(661) 868-6208 fax

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:26PM
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Cuddy, I think that hort. specialist has given you sound information. Just for "fun", maybe look up dothistroma and/or diplodia tip blight. Not at all saying I think your trees have either pathogen, but if they were still in WI, I'd say it is a distinct possibility. Both of these pathogens are probably less an issue in the apparently dry country where you are operating. Here in WI, we've pretty much stopped recommending this pine, because of the high probability that one or both diseases will take hold.

I'm glad to see Jeffery pine and other Cali natives on your planting list!


    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 8:45AM
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Thanks, Wisconsitom.

The Austrians are from a Wisconsin nursery.

Good article on Dothistroma Needle Blight here:

I'll be watching the trees closely for this.

Have a great day.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 3:21PM
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