Red band needle blight

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Red band needle blight (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Red band needle blight affects various pines, especially Corsican pine (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Also known as Dothistroma needle blight, this disease affects conifers, most commonly pine, with Corsican, lodgepole and our native Scots pine all affected. It causes loss of needles, which year after year weakens or eventually kills the tree.

What is red band needle blight?

Symptoms

  • Infected needles develop yellow/tan spots and bands, which turn red. The ends of the needles turn red-brown while the base remains green
  • Infected needles are lost, leading to branches with a lion’s tail appearance, with only a tuft of the current year’s needles at the end

Causes

  • In the UK it is caused by the fungus Dothistroma septosporum though another strain, Dothistroma pini, is causing similar problems elsewhere in the world, including France

Outlook

  • Found in all countries of the UK – in 2007, 70 per cent of Corsican pine stands inspected in Britain had the disease
  • Scots pine was thought less susceptible but it now seems to be worsening, which raises concerns for the native Caledonian pinewoods of Scotland

Report it

If you think you’ve spotted this disease please inform the Forestry Commission using the Tree Alert reporting tool. Three good-quality digital photographs are required to aid identification.

For more information visit the Forestry Commission.

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