Cypress & Pine Tree Problems

Keith Fontenot  |  6/16/2009 12:31:47 AM

Close-up of a pine branch tip showing the needles, which are brown and dead about halfway from the base to the tips of the needles. This injury occurs from the feeding of the pine colaspis beetle on the needles.

For the past couple of weeks we have received several calls from all areas of the parish about conifer trees, mainly pine trees and cypress trees, that appear to be dead or dying. We also had two calls from homeowners who had received an estimate on how much it would cost to remove their dead pine trees from their yards because they had a disease which was killing them.

So far, in all the cases we have looked at, there aren’t any dead trees to be removed. We do have a tremendous number of pine trees that are infested with pine colaspis beetles or have been damaged by pine colaspis beetles recently. The pine colaspis beetles are found throughout the Southeast and are very common in the Gulf states. They seem to prefer slash pine but feed on all the southern pine species. They are not normally considered a serious forest pest, but feeding by large numbers occasionally produces a spectacular browning effect of the tips of needles.

The adult beetles chew the edges of needles to produce a saw-like edge and sometimes girdle the entire needle about halfway from the tip. This causes these tips to turn brown and give the entire tree a reddening to brownish color. Trees that have been attacked normally do not die, and very little, if any, growth loss occurs. These infestations normally occur in late spring or early summer and usually by late summer the trees appear green and healthy again. Infestations are very sporadic in occurrence and location.

Under normal forest conditions no control measures are recommended for this pest. On ornamental and shade trees in a lawn, insecticides can be used to control the population and prevent unsightly damage. Products recommended for use by the LSU Agcenter include: Malathion - 2 teaspoons per gallon or 2 pints per 100 gallons of 57 percent strength Malathion; Sevin - 2 tablespoons per gallon of 50 percent wettable powder Sevin.

If you have any questions about pine colaspis beetles or other insect or tree or lawn problems, please call or come by the LSU AgCenter's parish office located at 230 Court Street in Ville Platte, Louisiana.

The LSU Agcenter follows nondiscriminatory guidelines in all programs and employment with regards to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disabilities, political beliefs, and /or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities, who require alternative means for communication of program information or other assistance, should contact the Evangeline Parish office of the LSU Ag Center at 337-363-5646.
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