Dothistroma Needle Blight of Pines

by Paige Thrush, Nancy J. Taylor  & Francesca Peduto Hand

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Dothistroma needle blight, also called red band disease, is a foliar disease of pines and other conifers.  The disease is found worldwide in areas where cool and moist weather are persistent. In Ohio and throughout the Midwest, the disease is a significant problem on Austrian, red and Scots pine in the landscape. Other conifers that are reported to be susceptible hosts include Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce and European larch. Dothistroma needle blight is caused by the fungal pathogen Mycosphaerella pini (formerly known as Dothistroma septosporum =Dothistroma pini). The disease causes needle blight and premature defoliation, greatly reducing the vigor, aesthetic quality, and market value of its host. When favorable weather persists for several years, the disease may reach epidemic levels.