Posted by LNA Master Landscapers Association
on 14 May 2016
Have you noticed any dead or dying pine (Pinus) trees in your area?
An infestation of an exotic pine nematode was discovered in the wood of a single dying pine tree in Sydney in March 2016. Damage caused by pine nematodes can lead to rapid tree wilt and death. The NSW Government is conducting surveillance of pine trees across NSW to identify any further infestations. This pest has not previously established in Australia and poses a serious threat to Australia's softwood plantation forest industry.
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is asking all land managers across NSW to look at pine trees in their local area and report their observations back to them. You can make reports by filling out this Pine Tree Health Report Sheet.
The reporting sheet asks for information about where, when and what trees you have looked at and what percentage of the tree canopy is dead or dying. An indication of when the changes in tree health were first noticed would also be of assistance.
Note: When conducting your pine tree inspections you can exclude Norfolk Island and Cypress Pines as these species do not host exotic nematodes.
Assessing pine tree health is easy. Simply stand back from the tree and look at the health of the pine needles and branches. The DPI have limited tree health reporting to 3 grades:
Grade 1: less than 15% of the tree canopy is brown
Grade 2: approximately 25% of the tree canopy is brown
Grade 3: more that 50% of the tree canopy is brown.
The reporting sheet shows example images of each different grade for your reference and, where possible, it would be deeply appreciated if you could include photos of any Grade 2 or 3 trees you encounter with your completed inspection report. The DPI have also provided a Fact Sheet on Exotic Pine Nematode that you can refer to.
The DPI are also keen to receive reports of healthy pine trees as well as dead or dying trees as these reports allow them to identify where surveillance has been conducted, so please make sure you complete an inspection sheet for every location you conduct an inspection.
The DPI would also like to advise that whilst pine nematodes live inside the tree trunk and cannot be seen by the naked eye, they are not harmful to people, pets or wildlife.
Completed inspection reports can be submitted in writing to:
Plant Biosecurity Officer - Industry, Plant Biosecurity, NSW Department of Primary Industries
Locked Bag 21
Alternatively, you can email your reports and images to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like more information on this issue or how else you can contribute to this surveillance program you can click here.
As always, you can also report suspect exotic and emergency pests and diseases of plants by phoning the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.