AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Conservation says residents are reporting increasing damage throughout the state to eastern white pine trees, particularly a yellowing, browning and loss of needles.
Officials say homeowners, landowners and foresters should expect to see unusual and excessive shedding of infected, 1-year-old tree needles over the next few weeks. Needle diseases, caused specifically by three fungi, have reached epidemic proportions around the state.
The needle loss has not yet caused any widespread mortality, but it does weaken pines, making them more vulnerable to other conditions, such as drought or insects. Officials say not much can be done to halt the needle loss, though good forest management can protect the trees.