Pine pitch canker


​​​ Exotic bees.


Pine pitch canker

Exotic to Australia

Features: Fungal disease of all pine species and Douglas fir
causing ‘bleeding’ infections
Where it's from: South Africa, Haiti, Mexico, USA, Chile,
Uruguay, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, Spain
How it spreads: Importation of infected wood, or pine tree
material such as pine needles; local spread by rain or fog,
and spores blown in the wind; on seeds, or transported on
clothing, equipment or in soil; by insect vectors
At risk: Pines including Australia’s pine plantations

Pine pitch canker has infected the middle tree in this image,
causing oozing and saturation with resin.
Miloň Dvořák, EPPO.

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Keep it out

Overseas, all species of pine trees and Douglas fir trees can be infected with pine pitch canker, caused by the fungus, Fusarium circinatus.  Infected trees have ‘bleeding’ infections that can encircle branches, exposed roots and trunks, and damaged needles, flowers and cones.

It can be spread in infected timber or timber packaging, since the fungus can live for a year or more in wood.

Locally the fungus is easily spread, with any pine tree material, spores blown in the wind, in fog or rain, and on seeds, clothing, equipment or in soil.

Australia’s valuable pine plantations, and the communities that are supported by them, are threatened by this disease.

Importing goods

To keep pine pitch canker out of Australia, never ignore Australia’s strict biosecurity rules.

Import shipments may need to be treated and certified, so before you import, check our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).

What to look for

In pines:

  • wilting and discolouration of needles
  • progressive dieback
  • damage to branches, trunk, stem or roots
  • oozing lesions
  • wood saturated with resin becoming a honey colour
  • infection close to ground level in young trees.
Resin oozing from trees is a common symptom of pine pitch canker. Elizabeth McCarty, University of Georgia,


Where to look


Importation of infested plants, wood or pine needles is the most likely way that pine pitch canker could make it to Australia.

Foresters and home gardeners

Look for wilting and oozing in pine trees and related species.

What to do

If you think you’ve found pine pitch canker:

  • take a photo
  • do not disturb infected plants (this may be as simple as closing the doors on a shipping container or preventing access to part of a plantation).

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Last reviewed: 28 August 2020
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