I guess it was a self-inflicted injury. I have decorated pastry with currant (ribes) clusters and thought it just a grand idea to grow some. In addition to providing fresh fruit, they dehydrate easily and go well in scones or muffins, make good jam, very interesting sorbet, are an attractive bush and provide a nice landscaping screen from the roadway. Fortunately, I did a little research and found I needed a State Permit before I could plant as none of the out-of-state suppliers would ship live plants without having a copy of my license. Not knowing which variety of White Pine Blister Rust (WPBR) resistant or immune currants were best for culinary purposes I opted for the shotgun strategy and got a broad sampling of seven currant varieties along with 4 gooseberry varieties. Only the Black Currant Titania produced any edible berries, in my opinion, and I had been planning to remove the other 6 currant varieties and replant with Titania suckers.
Perhaps it was because the USDA and NH Department of Resources and Economic Development have offices in Durham and I was a short distance away or because I had a variety of ribes species, either way I became a popular site for quick inspections. I have numerous pines around the house and on neighboring properties and I am happy the problem was identified before the damage got out of hand. The damaged pines can not infect other pines and although the damaged portions will not revive, the disease cycle requires a ribes species for a vital portion of its life cycle, their removal should end the ongoing infectious stages.
The effects were clear last fall, my currants tested positive, to varying degrees, for Cronartium ribicola (WPBR). I removed all the currants, but expect to see some self-starters this spring which will quickly get removed. I did keep the various gooseberries but will watch them more carefully for any signs of the disease. I am replacing the currant plantings with black elderberry canes this spring.
The official results: