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Tree service for Pine tree diseases in Mesa Az.

Aleppo Pine Blight

Aleppo Pine Blight Pine Tree Dead Needles Mesa AZ 480 969 8808 Warner's Tree Surgery


The pictures on this page were taken in Tempe AZ on January 25, 2018.

Opinions vary on the cause but the symptoms of this condition are easy to spot as stated by the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension

Symptoms usually occur in the upper part of the tree in December, but the damage was done several months earlier in the hot dry summer. Needles turn grey then brown but continue to cling to plump healthy branches until normal seasonal needle drop in the summer. Twigs and branches may die. Water-soaked cankers can appear on branches, which may split. Other diseases organisms may invade, but are not the cause of the blight. Sun-exposed sides are most affected.

The cause according to the by the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, is thought to be induced by day/night temperature extremes on tender, actively growing sections of the trees, or to drought stress. Thy suggest that maintaining good watering practices ,and nitrogen fertilization, may prevent Aleppo Pine Blight.


Moderately affected trees will recover and have normal refoliation in the spring. Injury tends to reoccur on severely damaged trees. Permanent damage is possible.
Please see

Some of the researchers at ASU think a small mite may be involved with the condition.

Aleppo pine blight is common in the Phoenix area and might (the evidence is inconclusive) be caused by Aleppo pine mites which are extremely small, inconspicuous and produce no webbing like the red spider mite. The symptoms of Aleppo pine blight include the graying and browning of entire large branches which appear to suddenly 'die back' in late fall and winter. Most often the needle foliage of these same branches will return to a normal green color the ensuing spring, though others might die.

Perhaps the controversy is best summed up by the folks at Artistic Arborist 

Aleppo Pine blight, which has no known biological cause, is particularly severe this year. Tree owners noticed problems with their Aleppo pines beginning about Thanksgiving, 2002. By January 2003, the problem became severe. It is especially prevalent on old, established trees with high value. Young trees appear to be resistant to it. It also appears occasionally on Elderica Pines and Canary Island Pines, but the problem is most prevalent on the Aleppo Pines. Why? No one knows.

So what could the cause be? Discussions with Dr. Jean Stutz at Arizona State University and Ron Ykema of the State Agriculture Lab have offered a number of possible “new” biological agents. Could it be Xylella the bacteria-like organism that is responsible for Ash decline and Pierce’s disease in grapes? This organism is widespread in ornamental plants and there are hundreds of known symptom-less species. However, no conifers have been listed as carriers of Xylella.

Another suspect is Cylindrocaron which people at BBI Labs have isolated from the roots of some affected trees. Are these specimens deficient in some type of mycorrhizal fungus that leads to the plugging of xylem vessels that lead to blighted stems? Who knows.

Other possible culprits are mites. We have noted that the needles of affected trees that begin to decline show small chlorotic spots that resemble mite damage and we have seen mites crawling on our specimens when we examined them under the microscope. No webbing is present and mites are certainly known to be pests of other conifers.

On the subject of water stress you sould also look at on this website. Some of which I have included below.

To learn more about the relationship between water stress and pine death please see the article that summarizes some of the research done on the subject written by Mari N. Jensen on Sept. 20, 2005.  
In which he states:

"The high heat combined with the extreme dryness put the trees under so much water stress that the attacks from bark beetles finished them off. Under such conditions, the trees cannot make enough pine sap to defend themselves against the insects."

Scientists have also discovered a second reason why pine trees die from water stress, and they liken it to a heart attack for trees.

"Trees take in water through their roots, and pump that water throughout the tree to hydrate leaves and support photosynthesis. In times of plenty, water moves easily through the tree. But when temperatures increase, evaporation from leaves drives higher water demand. At the same time, if water is harder to come by due to drought, the tree's roots have to pull harder to draw scant water from the soil. Tension builds in the tree's "pipes" as they work harder and harder to move water, like a person trying to suck a very thick smoothie through a small straw. At a certain point, the tension on the pipes throughout becomes so great that bubbles of air enter the pipes and block the flow of water. It's called an embolism.

"It's a little bit akin to a tree heart attack," Anderegg says. "You can actually hear this on a hot summer day if you stick a microphone up to a tree—you can hear little pings and pops as these pipes get filled with air." Blocked pipes lead to tree death"

So when treating for this condition, why not cover all the possible bases by.

1 Get the water right, follow the recommendations on this site for Watering non native trees

2 Fertilize with a product like Kellogg Garden Organics Fruit Tree Fertilizer that is enhanced with beneficial microbes and mycorrhizae. You can get it at Home Depot.

3 Introducing a insecticide like Bayer Advanced Tree And Shrub which will take care of many insect problems. You can get it at Home Depot.

4 Have us out to treat your pines to hopefully accelerate the healing process.

I hope you found this page about Aleppo Pine Blight useful. If you have any questions about Tree Disease please contact our Tree Service to schedule an appointment. We have been treating sick trees for over 50 years. We currently serve, Mesa AZ, Gilbert AZ, Chandler AZ, Scottsdale, Phoenix AZ and all of Maricopa County AZ.

We currently serve - Mesa Az. – Gilbert Az. - Tempe Az. - Chandler Az. - Queen Creek Az. - Scottsdale Az. – Paradise Valley Az. - East Phoenix Az.