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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Thursday - December 03, 2015

From: Leakey, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Causes of death to Papershell pinion pine (Pinus remota)?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Good afternoon. I did my best to review the site and have not found a comparable question - apologies if I have missed something. I own property equidistant between Leakey and Campwood off of HWY 337. The property is home to hundreds of Pinon pines (Pinus remota) and they are dying rapidly: old trees, young trees, trees on flat ground, trees on slopes, etc. In a cluster, some die, some don't. The visual, or noticeable death cycle appears to last about 4 weeks. They go from robust and green, to a reddish brown, to grey and dead. Any ideas/news on this? Thanks.

ANSWER:

I have not come across symptoms like yours for Pinus remota (Papershell pinyon).  But here are some possibilities.  P. remota is said not to like wet soil, and we have been having lots of rain.  But the fact that your trees on a slope are also dying suggests that poor drainage is not the problem.  I read of pines being affected by Honey fungus, but I see no evidence of that in Texas.  Also, porcupines have been reported to damage the trunks of P. remota with the resulting injury allowing entry of pine bark beetles.  

You should carefully check the dying pines for clues to what is killing them.  Any sign of bark being stripped off?  Check this web site for detecting the presence of pine bark beetles.  After careful examination for symptoms, contact the Texas A & M Forest Service office at Forest Health, P.O. Box 310, Lufkin, TX 75902 for their input.  Good luck in solving this puzzle!

 

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