If you have noticed that your pine trees are suddenly dropping a worrying amount of needles, you would be wise to wonder if your trees are okay or not. But before you jump to conclusions, you should know that dropping needles does not necessarily mean that your tree is sick. Just like deciduous trees, which shed their leaves in autumn, pine trees also shed their pine needles in autumn.
So, the first thing you should do is rule out the possibility that your tree is sick. What usually happens, both when pines shed in autumn and when they shed when sick, is that the needles first turn brown, then drop.
Your Pine Tree Could Be Sick
Pine trees can suffer from a number of afflictions, such as pine wilt and Phytophthora root rot. They also fall prey to pine bark beetles, especially when not in the best of health. All of these conditions cause pine needles to shed their needles, though this kind of needle drop differs from autumnal needle drop. If your pine tree is dropping needles because it is afflicted with a disease of some kind or is stressed, the following signs should be evident:
- The needles are turning brown and dropping from only one part of the tree.
- Every needle is turning brown or has turned brown.
These are the two main indicators of sickness, and you should call on the services of an arborist to diagnose the problem so that your tree can be treated. If you catch the disease early enough, your tree might survive.
Your Pine Is Shedding During Autumn
Evergreens are so called because they tend to stay green all year round. However, this doesn't mean that their needles live forever. As pine trees grow, they will occasionally shed their innermost needles, usually in autumn. These are the pine's oldest needles, and before they drop, they turn reddish brown in colour.
However, each species of pine differs in terms of the number of years it takes for their needles to die. For instance, white pines shed their needles every 2 years whereas red pines shed their needles every 4 years. Therefore, if it is currently autumn and your pine is shedding its innermost needles, then you have nothing to worry about.
If you suspect that your pine tree is sick, call a tree service as soon as you can. If you act quickly, they may be able to identify the problem in time to save your tree.