It was recently brought to my attention that slash pines are suddenly dying in Central Florida, particularly among some of Orange County Expressway buffers. Closer inspection of these dying trees, which retained their brown needles, showed numerous cankers (wounds) along the branches that were bleeding resin. From these wounds were detected species of Diplodia fungi indicting “pine blight”, a problem found up north. However, these symptoms were not found on the branch tips, but appeared to have started further back on the branches and then proceeded towards the tips. A second fungi species, Lasiodiplodia, was also found.
According to University of Florida Pathologists, there are many variables that need to be considered in order to determine the cause (and solution) to this problem. A statewide survey is underway to further study this problem.
Should any of your slash pines or other species show similar symptoms, let your Ag Extension Agent know. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more.