Pine wilt is a vascular disease that can result in system infection and death of your pine trees. Scots and Austrian pines are especially susceptible to this disease. Pine wilt is caused by Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, a nematode parasite that is carried by beetle vectors.
Adult beetles carrying nematodes fly to healthy trees for feeding. A single beetle may carry up to 175,000 larvae! The nematodes, carried by the beetle, enter the wounds made by beetles to feed and multiply in the tree’s resin canals, which kills the tree. This is why the wood of trees infected with pine wilt is dry and lacks resin.
Symptoms of pine wilt can be non-specific, including general wilting and discoloration of needles. Some susceptible species and stressed trees can die within 30-90 days after infection onset. Older trees and drought-stressed trees are particularly vulnerable to pine wilt. High summer temperatures are a contributing factor to increasing rates of pine wilt, as they provide favorable reproductive conditions for the pinewood nematode.
Since Scots and Austrian pine are most susceptible to pine wilt, we advise customers to consider planting other species on their property. Chemical measures against pine wilt have not proven effective so removal and chipping of infected trees remains the best way to handle the disease. If your pine trees show signs of stress or infestation, call or text Eric to schedule a free estimate. Address the issue prior to a weakened tree falling or causing damage to your property!