NATIVE RANGE: North America
FIRST FINDING IN SLOVENIA: not yet found in Slovenia
PATHWAYS: transported with bark, wood and live plants
POSSIBLE TO FIND: year-round
DESCRIPTION: The disease causes slow dieback of the bark of various pine species. Thinner infected branches usually die back. There are often resin drops on the edge of infected areas. Slowly spreading canker wounds form on the trunk, mostly at branch axils. In the bark, the fungus grows about 5 cm/year vertically and 0.6 cm/year horizontally, and thus the wound becomes very elongated. The wood acquires characteristic bluish-black stains. On the surface of the wound small, black, disc-shaped and stalked fruiting bodies (apothecia) develop.
HOST PLANTS: All species of pines (Pinus spp.).
STATUS: The species is listed as a quarantine pest. The most likely pathway is through the import of wood, bark and pine seedlings from North America.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Sphaeropsis shoot-killing of pine (Diplodia pinea) has small, round, black fruiting bodies (see immage). Shoot shedding of pine (Cenangium ferruginosum), which does not lead to the formation of cankers, has light brown disc-shaped fruiting bodies, which initially have black outer edges and later become entirely black.