Pine tree problem with needles

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by benzmum, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    I have a pine tree - I think it's a Jack Pine because there are two needles to each bunch - in a large container on my roof garden. I grew it from a seedling and now I think it's about 8 feet tall. This summer I noticed a lot of the needles in the middle area of the branch had turned brown.

    At dusk I've seen insects flying around the top of the tree, like they're performing a ritual. I only see them as the sun's going down; but I've also found lots of these insects dead on the breezeway in our building. I've attached a picture of the dead insect, plus one of the pine tree.

    I'd like to know what those brown needles mean. If they were on the lower branches I'd assume I hadn't watered it enough. But being in the middle of most branches has me stumped. Could it be the tree's unhappy in the container size? or is it infested? Anyone know what's happening to my pine tree?
     

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  2. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    You don't show how big is the container. It is quite possible it is too small. I don't think the bugs have anything to do with the yellowing. In too small container the roots cannot develop sufficiently to upkeep the tree any more, even if there is enough water.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    European Black Pine Pinus nigra. Likely needs a considerably larger pot than the one it is in, or even better, planting in the ground. A tree's roots typically extend 1-2 times as far as the tree is tall.
     
  4. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    what kind of beetle is that?

    also - you say you grew tree from seedling - where did you collect the seedling - as in what part of BC? In the wild or at a neighbor garden or ...?
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The insects are European chafer beetles.
     
  6. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Without seeing scale in photo (and looking up chafer size) - we are used to the pine beetles in Okanagan

    off OP topic but still bugs and pines - There is a small grove of HUGE old ponderosas on the KVR above Penticton area that were populated I think in the 1980s by some pine beetle but the trees lived on and winter got cold again for extended times ... the trees are still big and appear happy healthy

    It’s when it took over like at Manning Park it became evident to most of us average people (or flying over BC so apparent)

    Back to the subject pine - is there one that’s not bonsai’d that is ever long term ok in a container .... I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one ... even the sad one on that penthouse deck next to Sylvia Hotel (Vanc bc) got removed a few yrs back

    YET - they can succeed naturally perched on the edge of a rock bluff for hundreds of yrs in sun and snow — where are those really ancient ones in California Sierra mtn range? I think Sierra.

    Is there a pine for containers suited to Vancouver climate?
     
  7. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thought it looked a bit like a Cockchafer. But I've only ever seen one of them, and that was a long time ago (yes, they're that rare here, due to over-intensification of agriculture destroying wildlife :-(
     
  9. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    The insect is not a Pine beetle Mountain pine beetle - Wikipedia . Neither looks nor life style is that of Pine beetle. The underlying problem with the tree is too little room for adequate root development.
     
  10. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    The container is 13 cubic inches, and the tree's actually 7 feet tall.
     
  11. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    Yes, that occurred to me. I've asked our Gardening Committee if they can find a spot for it on our grounds.
     
  12. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    I bought the seedling when it was about 18" tall from Rona Garden Centre in Vancouver.
     
  13. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    What I find curious, though, is the needles browning in the middle of a branch, rather than from the trunk outwards, or the tip of branch inward. I've never seen this kind of damage before. Why would too little root room present in this way, and why wouldn't the lower branches start dying off?​
     
  14. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    Thanks for the input! I'm trying to find someone who can plant it in the ground, but I may wind up doing a modified Bonsai on it....
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Something has been killing long established Austrian pines here in western WA lately. To the extent that it may become apparent that the species is no longer suitable for general planting in our area. Point being that if this scenario is in fact unfolding it may not be worth putting a lot of effort into trying to keep an existing one going, only to have it die anyway.
     
  16. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Looks like a Lophodermium seditiosum infected this tree. It often infects needles that are from previous year or older and leaves most recently grown needles intact.
     
  17. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    your term Modified Bonsai made me smile - I'm sure we've all had one of those haircuts (usually before something important) --- otherwise for our flora friends - there is this group longtime in SEA area called Plant Amnesty About Us who have a mission about proper trims and pruning. (no street tree shearing)

    --- I remember their booth way back at the old Sunset garden show (the Sunset magazine) --- what was it called - Pac NW garden show? it was always worth a trip south of the border in those days for this February event.
     
  18. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Could you post a pic of the container? Do you have in mind the container is slightly bigger than one cubic foot (1728 cubic inches) ?
     
  19. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    Sulev, I've attached a photo of an "infected" branch. Are you sure this is the way L. seditiosum looks when it's infected a pine tree?
    Pine branch, browning.jpeg
     

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  20. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    Sundrop, I've attached a pic of the container. The dimensions inside are 13 cubic inches. I'm trying to find someone who has land to plant it so it's not confined, on the assumption that the browning is caused by the stress of the container being too small. But if it's diseased, I don't want to encourage someone to come and get it.
     

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  21. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    I think a number of people have suggested it's too big for the container. But if it is infected with Lophodermium seditiosum, I think I should just put it in the garbage.

    I'd appreciate your ideas about this. I know a little about horticulture, but not enough when it comes to evergreens, so please let me know if you think it is indeed diseased.

    When I was taking a shot of an affected branch, I noticed that all the brown needles appear at the base of the branches. I had assumed that if I hadn't watered the tree enough, I'd see total browning of all the LOWER branches. But maybe if it's root-stressed, it would show browning beginning at the base of the branches, and not necessarily lower branches.

    Ideas gratefully received!
     
  22. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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  23. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    At this point and ongoing effort - i think I’d give its clean branches a place of honour in some holiday swags and safely dispose of the skeleton and planter
     
  24. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    I hear you!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2019
  25. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Lophodermium seditiosum usually doesn't kill infected pines. It can have outbreaks, if conditions are favourable. Stressed trees are more likely to be infected.
     

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