The Grounds Guys

Pine Wilt: Is That Tree at Risk?

Wilt Pine has been active in the Midwest for more than 20 years and is the leading cause for killing Pines. The explosive summer heat and droughts play a role in the demise of Pines. The environmental stresses Pines are enduring create an opportunity for pathogens.

Pine Wilt begins with the Pine Sawyer Beetle feeding on Pine twigs. The feeding itself causes little damage. However, The Pine Sawyer carries a microscopic, worm-like creature called a nematode in its trachea. When feeding, the Pine Sawyers’ wounds create an entry for the nematode. In susceptible Pines, the nematode begins to feed on living cells in the resin canals. As the nematodes feed and multiply, the resin canals become clogged, which eventually stops the flow of water in the tree causing the tree to die.

The most important way to manage Pine Wilt is sanitation. Prune dead branches from live trees to minimize attractiveness to beetle vectors. As each tree is pruned be sure to disinfect pruning tools before moving on to the next tree. Dead Pines become breeding grounds for beetles/nematodes. Remove dead or dying trees as soon as possible and do not store any as firewood. Remove the tree completely and grind out the stump. Dispose of the tree properly as beetles are capable of flying for several miles.

Consider planting less problem prone trees that are native to your area, such as the Spruce, Douglas Fir, Cedar or Hemlock, which are virtually immune to disease.

It is important to have trees diagnosed to help stop the spread of Pine Wilt. Contact a professional, such as The Grounds Guys® to help determine if Pine Wilt is present in your trees, treating and removing effected trees.