Combating White Pine Blister Rust Disease

Map of range of western white pine map and photo of a disease resistant tree
LEFT: Range of western white pine (P. monticola); RIGHT: Seedlings from this rust disease resistant parent tree in Colville National Forest are included in field trials. Photo: B. Mayo, US Forest Service.

Western white pine (Pinus monticola Dougl.) is a wide-ranging forest tree with high economic and ecological value. However, several factors, including the inadvertent introduction of the non-native fungal pathogen (Cronartium ribicola Fisch), which causes white pine blister rust disease, has led to extreme levels of mortality in many natural populations of the tree.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service’s Dorena Genetic Resource Center have partnered to undertake a series of field trials to evaluate the success of developing genetically resistant populations of Western white pine.

This paper (Monitoring Blister Rust Resistance, Pathogen Virulence
and Genetic Adaptability of Western White Pine in
Washington and Oregon
) explains more about the field trials and the early results.

For more information about the study, contact:

Dan Omdal, Forest Pathologist, Washington State Department of Natural Resources,, 360-902-1692,

Amy Ramsey, Forest Pathologist, Washington State Department of Natural Resources,, 360-902-1309

Richard Sniezko, Geneticist, U.S. Forest Service,, 541-767-5716