Lately, lots of people have been worrying about some sad looking white pines. Naturalist Charlie Browne of the Fairbanks Museum explained to us what these yellow needles are all about.
Sharon Meyer: So Charlie, tell me what you know about white pine. A lot of people are noticing that several of them are not looking that good.
Charlie Browne: Well, that's true, and this is the phenomenon that the foresters are just beginning to get on top of. A lot of white pines across Northern New England seem to be showing signs of a fungal infection that causes the needles, particularly on the mid-level branches, not the tops, to turn quite yellow and they will ultimately fall off. And so you might see a whole grove of pine trees with yellowing needles on the broadest branches. But we can reassure you that although the fungus will stay, the trees will survive. Pines shed their needles all the time, but the discoloration and shedding this summer as it did two years ago, is evidence of this fungal infection.
Meyer: OK, so they may look really bad for awhile, but they're not necessarily dead. People should give them a chance next year to come back?
Browne: Absolutely, we don't know, apparently the spread of the fungus is encouraged by wet springs and we've had several of those in recent years and they may have stimulated a fungal outbreak. But the trees will not die, simply from this infection.
You may have noticed the needles turning yellow in May, and foresters expect the needs to fall off by early July.
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