Lophodermella needle cast
Lophodermella needle cast is caused by the pathogen Lophodermella concolor. The disease occurs on lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) in the interior of British Columbia, especially in the Kootenay-Boundary region, and on shore pine (Pinus contorta var. contorta) in the West Coast region.
Lophodermella needle cast infects the current year's needles from spores released from the previous year's infected needles. Spore release and infection occur in June or July during periods of high humidity. There is limited external evidence of attack during the year of infection as the pathogen undergoes a period of vegetative growth within the host (needles remain green coloured) . The previous years discoloured needles will drop in early summer, leaving bare branches with the green needles on the current year's needles present, resulting in the characteristic "lion's tail" appearance to the branches.
There are many species of Lophodermella that cause serious needle diseases on species of Pinus. Knowing which host the disease occurs can help differentiate between species of Lophodermella; however, identification by skilled pathologists is often necessary.
With many foliar and branch diseases, the maintenance of vigorous growing stock by thinning and encouragement of mixed stands, where practical, will help prevent growth loss due to Lophodermella. Ultimate control for foliar pathogens on both conifers and hardwoods will be achieved through the selection, breeding and use of disease resistant stock as there are no practical landscape-level management options.