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Plant Diseases/sick Norfolk Pine


Dear Dr Vann,

We have a 20' Norfolk Pine that was transplanted about six months ago.  It has been very healthy looking and vibrant up until recently when I noticed termites all over the base of the tree.  The tree is looking quite sickly with several branches dying and most of the needless are beginning to loose their color.  The bark feels spongy on the first two to three feet of the tree.  After close examination...I peeled some of the bark seems that there is some sort of rot between the under layer of the bark, and the main "meat" of the trunk.  I love this tree, and have no idea what to do for it.  I can send pictures if that helps...

Thanks for your time!!!



From your description, I suspect the tree may have developed a fungal or bacterial disease that is causing a basal stem or root rot.  This may have been developing for some time.  More than likely, the termites have setup housekeeping in the rotted wood-thus they are the result of the decay, not the initial cause. Termites, for the most part, rarely attack healthy wood.

Transplanting trees can be tricky sometimes. This process can be traumatic.  Lots of TLC is often called for to reduce "transplant shock" that can be stressful. Stress can lead to diseases and insect issues.  Unfortunately, these types of rots are often terminal.  The best way to deal with these types of diseases is prevention.

Hope this helps.


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Dr Stephen Vann


Plant Diseases and Disorders of Lawn Grasses, Trees, Vegetables,and Ornamentals


Plant Diseases Identification and Management

B.S. Botany --- Miss. State Univ. M.S. Plant Pathology --- Miss. State Univ. Ph.D. Plant Pathology --- Texas A & M Univ.

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