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Save Your White Pines from Pine Bark Adelgid

July 22, 2015 by John Griffiths, Master Arborist

Although trees stand tall and look strong, they are vulnerable to diseases and attacks from insects. In many cases, early detection can prevent premature death of a tree. Unfortunately, no species of tree is immune. Today, we’re going to feature the white pine and the insect that threatens them.

White pines are a large, straight-stemmed pine native to eastern North America. These trees mature around 80 to 100 feet tall and 2 to 3.5 feet in diameter. They often live to be 150 to 200 years old, and some have been reported to live even longer. Serving as Michigan’s state tree, its needles are 3 to 5 inches long and grow in groups of five. You might notice they have slender, thornless cones which could be as long as 10 inches.

Unfortunately, white pines are susceptible to pine bark adelgid. You’ll notice the insect infests a tree when the white pine is off-color or the canopy begins to look thin. Look for the adelgid on the underside of the limbs or on the trunk of the tree (see above photo). They tend to suck the sap from the tree which leaves it weakened.

The small, dark insect is covered by waxy strands. Populations can grow rapidly with as many as five generations per year. A single female can lay 25 eggs. Remarkably, one female in the first generation could lead to 8 million at the end of the season.

The best way to control adelgids is through chemical treatment. Applying systemic insecticides for up to two years can leave your white pine in prime condition.

Do have a white pine tree? If it’s showing any of these symptoms, consult with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist. Unsure if you have a white pine tree and want us to take a look?  Schedule a tree consultation today! We have several account managers who are ISA Certified Arborists which means they are trained in the care of trees. Request a quote online now, or give us a call at 515.987.0800!

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