tanyosho pine with damaged canopy

(Question)

Hello, I live in the east GTA and purchased a tanyosho pine last year that suffered a substantial amount of needle loss and branch die-off in the spring. I ended up concluding it was suffering from a fungal problem (candles were turning black during the spring). I sprayed the pine with an antifungal and removed the branches with no remaining green. I don’t know if that was the best approach but it seemed to halt the spread of what was causing the needle and candle die-off. Now there are substantial gaps in the canopy. Is there a way to stimulate thickening of the canopy next spring? The tree was about as large a nursery stock item as is available, so not that young, and I would like to rejuvenate if possible, even it a few years of patience are required. However, if it is a loss cause I’d rather remove sooner than later. About 1/4-1/3 of the canopy was lost.
Thanks for any advice.

(Answer)

How lucky you are to have such a beautiful Tanyosho pine tree, Pinus densiflora ‘umbraculifera’.

There are many diseases that can affect pine trees, but fungal infections seem to be a particular problem with pines.

In your case,  an on-site consultation with an expert arborist is advised. The arborist will be able to properly diagnose the type of fungus affecting your tree as well as do a site inspection for proper drainage, soil type, fertilization etc. The goal being to keep the fungus from overtaking your tree again and to give your pine the best chance at a sustained recovery. The arborist will also be able to give you some expert advice on how and where to prune your Tanyosho pine properly so that hopefully the canopy can thicken and the tree can make a come back. Once you get the proper on-site information, you will be able to make a more informed decision about whether to cut your losses. You can find a certified arborist at https://landscapeontario.com/

For your information, I’ve attached a couple of links here from the American Conifer Society, including one on How to Prevent Fungal Diseases in Conifers.

I’ve also included one on Candling: The Art of Japanese Pine Pruning.

Good luck!

https://conifersociety.org/conifers/articles/prevent-fungal-diseases-conifers/

https://conifersociety.org/conifers/pinus-densiflora-umbraculifera/

https://www.seattlejapanesegarden.org/blog/2016/05/06/candling-the-art-of-japanese-pine-pruning