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Pine Tree Prevalent Problems

If you live in the Houston area, chances are you’re not far removed from a community of pine trees.  Nearly ubiquitous, these trees have become a part of many Texan yards.  Like other plants, however, pine trees, although common and sometimes dull, also require maintenance and attention.  In the event of strong winds or storms, ignoring these problems can result in ruining the landscape or worse; it can result in roof, window, or even structural damage to a house.

Here is a short list of several problems prevalent in pine trees:

Browning Tips

Pine needles turn brown and drop consistently during fall, often covering driveways and roofs, filling gutters, generally just getting everywhere.  This kind of pine drop and browning is normal, as, when fall arrives, pine trees push out the old needles to make way for new ones.  A more complex issue, however, is when most of the pine needles on a tree or in a clump of trees is green, except for a large section which has mysteriously turned brown out of season. This issue, known as “needle blight” or “pine blight,” occurs because of a fungus that causes the tree to take on a disease.  In East Texas, this issue is particularly common because the causal fungus is spread through mist and/or rain, and flourishes in humid conditions.

White and Brown Glue-Looking Clumps

On the branch joints in many pine trees, you may find patches of white muck that looks almost like someone went crazy with some icing or kid’s glue.  Rest assured, the issue in these cases is not a psychotic cake-maker, but a species of moth originating from Minnesota called the “Zimmerman Pine Moth.”  In addition to looking hideous, these creatures bore holes into pine trees, causing their nutrient-distribution system to have trouble.  This can result in heavy damage to the rest of the tree.

Holes/Strange Markings in Bark

Bark can go missing from trees for all manner of reasons: children pry it off, bucks sharpen their antlers on it, etc.  But the most nefarious reason is the pine beetle.  There are several different species of pine beetle, some of which are more troubling than others.  In many instances of beetle damage, tree bark will look like someone stabbed a tree over and over with an ice pick. If the infestation is serious, the needles will redden, and the trunk will appear bark-less.  In these extreme cases, the tree should be removed.