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The symptoms and identification, disease cycle and control of Sphaeropsis tip blight.
Browning and death of tips is quite common in older, well-established pine plantings. Such damage is often due to Sphaeropsis tip blight, a fungal disease caused by Sphaeropsis sapinea (syn. Diplodia pinea). Infection kills major branches and may even kill the entire tree under severe disease pressure.
Sphaeropsis sapinea can infect young trees, but the disease becomes increasingly more common and destructive as trees approach 30 years of age. Tip blight commonly occurs in landscape, windbreak and park plantings; but is seldom found in natural pine stands. Several pine species can be infected. In this region the disease is most severe on Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) and ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), but it can also damage Scots pine (P. sylvestris) and mugo pine (P. mugo).