Just like any other living thing, trees can get sick. Unlike the people and pets in your life, the pine trees on your property don't have a good way of showing you that they are sick. Instead, you will need to examine them a few times a year to ensure that they are still healthy. While the changes may be more subtle, there are usually still visible signs when a pine tree is having a problem.
Needles Are Turning Yellow or Falling Off
Evergreen trees are called that because they are supposed to stay green all year round. When the needles start to change color and fall off, it is an easy-to-spot sign that something is seriously wrong with your tree. In many cases, not all the needles will go at once. Part of identifying the individual disease is often dependant on what type of needles died first. The disease will usually target either fresh new growth or older, established needles and move throughout the tree from there.
Diseases are somewhat species specific, but most will prefer one particular type of tree, and any species that are related to is. While you will need to consult with a professional to be sure, a couple of the most common diseases that cause needle browning are Brown Spot and Tip Blight. Brown spot makes established needles turn black before turning brown, while tip blight will attack in the spring when the new needles start to grow. Chemicals may be able to control the infection, but often the answer is to remove the tree before it affects its neighbors.
Fungus Is Growing On the Trunk
Having a mushroom or two growing around your trees might seem enchanting, but it is often a symptom of a major problem. Fungus only grows on wood that is already dead, so if you have mushrooms growing out of the trunk of a tree, then there must be a part of it that is rotting. Slightly less concerning (while still problematic) is fungus growing around a branch joint. Branches will sometimes crack, and while the tree will grow to conceal the crack, this often leaves dead wood inside that allows for fungus growth.
Usually, you will need to remove whatever part of the tree has died to ensure that it doesn't fall down during a storm. If the center of the trunk is rotting, this may mean you will lose the whole tree, but you can often remove the affected branches and allow the tree to recover on its own. You should also monitor the tree more closely for the next few years to ensure that the trunk does not continue to decay and no other symptoms of disease present themselves.
The Bark Is Discolored or Peeling Away
Another subtle symptom of issues is discoloration in the bark. This is often caused by pests or birds that like to burrow into the branches to feed. In some cases, the damage can reach a point where the bark starts to pull away completely. These problems are not only specific to the type of pine tree, but also to your region. Depending on the type of infestation, you may have no choice other than removing the tree. If you catch it early enough, you may be able to treat the infestation with chemicals instead and monitor the situation to ensure it improves.
Ensuring your pine trees stay happy and healthy is not that difficult. Taking a few minutes to walk around the yard can be a relaxing experience-- there aren't many of your household chores that also double as stress relievers. By taking care of issues quickly, you can prevent them from spreading to your other trees, and having to remove and replace them all. For more information, visit sites like http://smittystreeservice.net/.