Needle and shoot diseases of pine

Needle and shoot diseases of pine

Vivanne Dubach, Valentin Queloz, Sophie Stroheker

WSL Fact sheet 70
Publishing year:
12 Pages

Dubach V., Queloz V., Stroheker S. (2022) Needle and shoot diseases of pine. WSL Fact sheet 70. Birmensdorf: Swiss Federal Institute WSL. 12 p.

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Brief summary

Pine trees are an integral part of the forest landscape across Switzerland. In recent years, they have come under increasing pressure, not least due to new fungal diseases that have been introduced from abroad. Needle and shoot diseases play a major role for pine health.

The Swiss Forest Protection Group has been documenting diseases affecting Swiss tree species since 1984. When the appearance (habitus) of an infested pine changes, the tree attracts attention. Needle and shoot diseases are clearly visible and thus easily change the appearance of the tree. Pines in particular are susceptible to many such diseases, also in comparison with other conifers such as Norway spruce (Picea abies) and silver fir (Abies alba).

This Fact sheet draws on the wealth of information gathered by the Swiss Forest Protection Group since 1984, and presents the pathogens of the most common needle and shoot diseases of pine trees in Switzerland. Physiological needle blight (also known as physiological needle cast), which is often confused with disease and therefore reported to the Swiss Forest Protection Group, is a natural process of needle ageing – a process undergone by all needles as time goes by. As it is not a disease, it does not appear in the list. However, it is described further on in the Fact sheet.

Portraits of needle and shoot diseases of pines

  • Lophodermium needle cast (L. seditiosum and L. pinastri)
  • Brown spot needle blight (Leca­nosticta acicola)
  • Red band needle blight (Dothistroma spp.)
  • Diplodia pine tip/shoot blight (Diplodia sapinea)
  • Cenangium dieback (Cenangium ferruginosum)
  • Scleroderris dieback / Brunchorstia dieback (Gremeniella abietina)
  • Snow blight (Gremmenia infes­tans)
  • Pine blister rust (Cronartium pini)
  • Black snow mould (Herpotrichia pi­netorum)
  • Cyclaneusma needle cast (Cyclaneusma minus)
  • Sydowia dieback of pine (Lophodermella sulcigena)
  • Sydowia dieback of pine (Sydowia polyspora)
  • Pine needle rust (Coleosporium tussilaginis)


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The Merkblatt für die Praxis (ISSN 1422-2876, digital ISSN 2296-4428) summarises key findings from WSL research and provides guidelines for best practice. The series is aimed at forestry and nature conservation groups, authorities, schools and interested laypersons.

French editions are published in the series Notice pour la practique (ISSN 2813-6071). Italian and English editions appear occasionally in the series Notizie per la pratica (ISSN 1422-2914) and WSL Fact Sheet (ISSN 2624-8069).