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Austrian pine is a medium to large pine tree that is quite dense in its youth (about first 20 years). As most other pines, with age this species loses its lower branches and assumes a flat-topped irregular form. Austrian pine is quite tolerant of poor dry soils and urban conditions (including salt spray). It is, however, susceptible to an ultimately lethal fungal disease (Sphaeropsis tip blight; formerly Diplodia tip blight). The disease, which kills the needles (at the tips of branches), starts at the bottom of the tree and makes its way up to the tree; Sphaeropsi stip blight will take several years to kill a tree. Prevention of drought stress is apparently the best way to avoid this disease; removal of infected plant parts and fungicide applications can control the disease spread if the tree is only minimally infected. If the disease has spread throughout the tree, then the tree should be taken down and all parts removed from the site. This species is also susceptible to nematodes (microscopic roundworms) which can kill a tree in a single year.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
October 26, 2018