Pine pitch canker
This fungus causes dieback in pine trees, including radiata pine, which is the main species of our forestry industry.
About pine pitch canker
This disease of pine trees is caused by the fungus Fusarium circinatum. It is native to Mexico. It has invaded the United States, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and South Africa.
Global distribution of pine pitch canker
Why this is a problem for New Zealand
This fungus causes dieback in pine trees, including radiata pine, which is central to our forestry industry. The disease can kill seedlings and cause adult trees to lose their entire canopy.
How it could get here
Contaminated seeds are the most likely way this fungus could arrive in New Zealand. Biosecurity New Zealand has strict measures in place to limit the chances of pine pitch canker making it through the border.
But we need you to be vigilant, too. Whenever travelling to New Zealand, don't bring pine cones or pine seeds. If you do, you could face a $400 fine.
How to identify pine pitch canker
- The wood under the bark is amber-coloured and resin-soaked.
- Branches die back, leaving brown needles.
Report suspected cases
If you've found unusual dieback in pines:
- photograph it
- note location and any landmarks
- call 0800 80 99 66
Note: This information is a summary of this disease's global distribution and potential impacts to New Zealand.