Pine decline is a disease complex resulting from the interactions of both biotic and abiotic stressors. Dr. David Coyle (Clemson University) will provide a general overview of identification, impact and management strategies for pine decline related factors.
Southern pine decline is not actually a decline at all – it is a term used to summarize various pine health issues, including shortened or yellowing needles, needle loss, or tree mortality. These health issues are often caused by extenuating factors, such as drought, poor soil conditions, trees not being adapted to growing on the particular site on which they are planted, or physical damage. Once an initial stressor impacts a tree, it becomes more susceptible to be colonized by various bark and woodboring beetles, and subsequently inoculated with the fungi these insects may carry on their bodies. Wide-scale pine decline does not appear to exist in the southeastern U.S., but some landowners may experience pine health issues. Commonly accepted and widely used stand management techniques, like thinning and prescribed burning, can promote stand health and reduce tree stress.