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Needlecast and needle blight are terms applied to a variety of foliage disorders of many coniferous species. These diseases are usually more severe on young trees or on trees growing outside of their natural range.
Thousands of trees are struck by lightning every year. These trees will have varying degrees of damage ranging from complete shattering and destruction of the tree, to a slow lingering death, to virtually no apparent damage at all (Figure 1).
Conifers are commonly planted in North America to provide year-round screening, as windbreaks or as focal trees in the landscape.
As climate change places continued pressure upon wild-plant populations, botanical gardens and arboreta become increasingly indispensable conservation agents.