Diplodia Tip Blight Description:

Diplodia tip blight of pines (formerly known as Sphaeropsis tip blight) is caused by the fungus Diplodia pinea. The fungus can live in dead needles, branches, and cones of the tree all year round.


The disease is primarily seen on Austrian, Mugo, Red, and Scots pines, but sometimes attack other conifers like spruce and fir as well.

Biology & Symptoms:

Symptoms include:

  • Brown, stunted new shoots with short, brown needles
  • Needles on infected shoots turn tan to dark brown
  • Cose inspection of the dead needles’ base reveals fungal fruiting bodies in the form of resin drops and black specks

Diplodia pinea spores develop in the black fruiting bodies formed on needles, fascicle sheaths, second-year cones, and bark scales. In early spring, spores spread during a string of rainy days or days with high humidity. From April through November, fungal spores develop, but in the current year pine needles are only susceptible to infection during early spring when the shoots are actively elongating. Second-year seed cones are susceptible to infection. Cone damage is rarely severe and the black fruiting bodies can be seen by closely inspecting the cone scales which provides a good diagnostic tool.


Fungicide applications help reduce infections in new shoots. New growth must be protected from bud swell to full expansion of the candle. It’s important that the first application is administered on the tree prior to bud break and before candles emerge out of the sheath. Two or three fungicide applications may be needed. Removing blighted shoots won’t decrease spore numbers because the spores are produced on the cones. However, blighted shoot removal helps the tree look better and may increase its vitality. Trees should be kept in good health with regular maintenance, watering during droughts, and routine fertilization. Individual trees vary in their susceptibility to this disease. Trees with heavy levels of disease are best removed from the landscape.

See More Articles

Fusiform Rust Photo Arborist Advice Banner
Mold or Fungus

Southern Fusiform Rust

Southern fusiform rust is a fungal pathogen that causes trunk and/or branch swelling in pine hosts and rust on oak leaves.
Read More
Pest And Disease Center Seiridium Canker Of Leyland Cypress Banner 1440X500
Mold or Fungus

Seiridium Canker Of Leyland Cypress

Seiridium canker of leyland cypress is a fungal disease that produces oozing brown cankers and causes yellowing and browning of tree branches.
Read More
DSC 8019
DSC 8019

Get In Touch With Us!

We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential needs.

Let's Find What
You're Looking For!