Pine: Elytroderma needle cast

categories: Conifers Ornamentals Pine Pine Diseases

revision date: 2023-02-07 12:00

Spray of pine needles on a black background, some green, some straw colored with black spots.
Elytroderma needle cast
Photo by: R.S. Byther


Trees infected with Elytroderma needle cast often display clusters or flags of red-brown needles in the spring. The diseased twigs turn up at the tip. The bases of affected needles often remain green. In summer, infected needles develop dark lines (fungal structures) which open along a lengthwise slit. Infected needles usually drop in fall and winter, but may turn gray and remain on the tree. Trees may be stunted, since several years of infection can cause nearly complete defoliation. Knobcone and ponderosa pines are most severely affected. Ponderosas may develop pitchy lesions on twigs. The lesions are streaked reddish when cut open. Infected trees are more susceptible to attack by root rots and bark beetles.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Do not plant in low areas with poor air drainage.
  • Space plantings and prune lower branches to provide good air circulation.
  • Control weeds under and near plantings to reduce humidity.
  • Remove diseased trees to prevent spread of infection.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • None recommended

Additional Image