large_old_canker_new.jpgSF residents should have more on their mind than wondering how long this year’s Indian Summer will last (although I’ll admit Labor Day barbecues just aren’t the same in 50 degree weather). The Department of Public Works, in conjunction with the Urban Forestry Council (not to be mistaken for the good guys from Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest), are urging the city’s residents to take preventive action on diseased pine trees growing on their property and sidewalks.

Although the disruption of forests by humans is often discussed, this particular problem has nothing to do with our irresponsibility. SF trees just happens to be susceptible to Pine Pitch Canker, a fungal tree disease.

The results can be trunk cankers, exposed roots, the infiltration of bark beetles, and dead tree branches breaking loose, posing a threat to both tree-climbers and passersbys.

Because of this threat, the public is urged to check out any pine trees on their property for the disease. While some trees reportedly survive and improve on their own, it’s encouraged to routinely prune your pines, have an arborist monitor them for changes, avoid bark beetles, and remove the trees only as a last resort.

For the treeless among you, you can still check out trees you see as you’re out and about for the disease, here’s a nifty photo gallery of symptoms to get you started. If you see a pine tree you suspect is dead or severely infected with the disease, give 311 a call so the city can take care of it.
You can get further details on Pine Pitch Canker here.

In exchange for their incredible functionality with rainwater diversion, pollution absorption, and ability to provide homes to so much wildlife, surely we can return the favor by personally looking out for these pine trees – an act of doing-good that the folks of Fern Gully – and future generations – would surely appreciate.

Photo of “Large old canker on main stem”: Pitch Canker Task Force

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