|WHITE PINE DIEING FROM BLISTER RUST|
|SAP OOZING FROM BLISTER RUST CANKERS|
Yesterday we had a whiteout, an almost-blizzard west and north of town, and not much got done at the sugar bush. Andy and Paul tapped a few trees, and I will join then later this morning to help tap the rest. We all had dinner at the Larsen camp last night, ground elk over rice (courtesy of Paul as hunter, Joanne as cook). Anyway, it has to warm up considerably for the sap to flow but all should be ready when it does.
There is a big old white pine on 9th and Rittenhouse Ave. that is dying from white pine blister rust and will have to come down at some point. WPBR is a fungus disease that is a major pest of white pine, Pinus strobus, and some other five-needled pines. White pine grows around the Great Lakes and southern Canada and at higher elevations in the southern Apalachians. WPBR is an alternate host fungus, living in one life cycle stage on white pine, and in another on currants and gooseberries. Since the disease needs both hosts to reproduce, elimination of currants and gooseberries (Ribes species) in the vicinity of white pines can control spread of the disease, although once a tree is infected there is no cure. When the disease infects white pine, it cases cankers that spread to girdle branches and finally the trunk, eventually causing death. This is a potentially very serious disease of forest stands of white pine, but is not as much of a threat to isolated ornamental trees. The white substance on the trunk is sap that has flowed from the canker wounds and accumulated on the trunk.