Phellinus pini (Basidiomycota, Aphyllophorales).

IEFC - Forest pests and diseases - Consult - <i>Phellinus pini </i> (Basidiomycota, Aphyllophorales).

Red ring rot

Phellinus pini (Basidiomycota, Aphyllophorales).
Synonyms: Fomes pini, Trametes pini, Xanthocrous pini.

Conk rot, white pocket rot, red heart.

Host tree

Pines (Pinus), hemlocks (Tsuga), spruces (Picea), larch (Larix) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Red cedar (Juniperus) and Western red cedar (Thuja plicata).


  • Trees exhibit poor growth, chlorotic leaves and sometimes dieback of the top.
  • Presence of perennial fruiting bodies (carpophores) on the trunk or branches. Fruiting bodies vary widely in thickness and size and are broadly attached, with a rather sharp to obtuse margin, and are woody hard. The underside is yellowish-brown to greyish-brown with irregularly shaped pores (Photo 1 and. 2).
  • Infected heartwood is often light red to reddish brown (Photo 3).
  • Later on, small lens-shaped white pockets appear in the decayed wood.
  • The decay extends in lines along the annual rings and forms concentric rings (Photo 4).


  • Timber quality is reduced. The decayed wood is often highly resinous.
  • Decay columns commonly extend 10 meters or more, rendering the entire trunk useless for lumber.
  • Infected trees can survive many years, but the decay predisposes the trees to breakage.


  • The spores (basidiospores) are dispersed by wind, and enter the trunk through wounds all over the year. Dispersal of basidiospores is at its maximum in spring and autumn.
  • The fungus grows up slowly in the heartwood, (only 5-10 cm /year).

Risk factors

  • Older trees are more susceptible to damage by this fungus.

Pest management

Preventive measurements

  • Avoidance of wounding during silvicultural operations.
  • In managed forests, harvest should take place at a relatively young age.
  • On trees with ornamental value, the wounds must be protected with mastic such as copper-based formulations.

Curative control

  • Biological control with Ascocoryne sarcoides is applied successfully in Canada, but this product is not registered in Spain, Portugal or France.
Photo 1: Young carpophore of Phellinus pini on a trunk.
Photo 2: Carpophore, perennial and woody hard.
Photo 3: Cross section of a trunk infected by Phellinus pini.
Photo 4: Infected heartwood with light red to reddish brown lines and small lens-shaped white pockets.

Illustrations : F. Caetano.

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