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CUES: Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

Table: Diagnosis and Control of Pine Wilt
Pest Identification Host Plants Damage Symptoms
Pine Wilt
Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the pine wood nematode
In the Midwest:
Scotch pine is the predominant host. It occurs rarely on Austrian, ponderosa, red, white and mugo pine; balsam fir and blue and white spruce.
This is a fatal and fast moving disease. Trees infected with the pine wood nematode exhibit rapid browning of needles, and entire trees die within 3 months after infection.
Monitoring Control Options Pesticides
Look for rapid browning of entire trees, often within a 3-month time period.

Brown needles usually remain on the tree.

Promote tree vigor. Mulching, watering during drought, periodic fertilization, and weed control many be helpful. Prune out dead branches on otherwise healthy trees. Remove and destroy infected trees promptly. Stockpile chip from infected trees for a few months prior to use. Do not incorporate chips into soil around trees.
Description and Life History
The pine wood nematode is spread by the pine sawyer beetle. Individual beetles may carry thousands of nematodes on and within their bodies. The beetles inadvertently deposit nematodes while feeding on the bark of healthy pine twigs and while laying eggs in dying or dead pine trees. Nematodes reproduce rapidly in the wood of infested trees during the summer, usually killing trees by the fall.

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Last modified on March 07, 2013