Yellowing of Evergreens

Natural Needle Drop - Pines

Natural Needle Drop

Natural Needle Drop - Pines

Are the needles on your pines turning yellow and falling off? Are your other evergreens turning brown?  You are not the only one with this problem. The cause of the problem is often environmental, however, there are a few ways to help your plants.

Natural Needle Drop

As evergreens grow, they shed up to a third of their old needles or foliage per year to conserve energy for new growth.  This allows the plant to expand for fresh new growth for spring.  It is also important to help lighten the load when the heavy snow falls on the branches.  The dropping needles may be more prevalent during dry years.  Needles can be raked up just like fall leaves.  This can happen on evergreens, such as pines, arborvitaes, spruces and cypresses.  It is normal when it occurs on inner branches and growth, just as deciduous trees lose their leaves. 

Salt Damage

During the winter, the use of salt to melt ice can cause damage to plants. Salt, cam dehydrate your plants. Salt inhibits the plant’s absorption of moisture and evergreens are often the first to show these signs (in late winter and spring). Salt also causes the yellowing of evergreens and, sometimes, the damage may last several years. Most plants recover. If a plant continues to decline it may need some assistance. To mitigate the salt injury, be sure to keep the plant well watered, which helps flush salt from the soil. Fertilizing with an organic fertilizer, such as Holly Tone, will help the plant recover.

Winter Injury

Winter injury commonly occurs due to lack of water. On windy or warm days, the water evaporates, and since plants cannot extract water from frozen ground, water is not replaced. Injury often appears on only a portion of needles browning or a specific location of the plant, such as the side receiving wind. Good watering throughout the season can help mitigate this problem. In addition, to adding a three inch layer of mulch will provide good insulation to the root zone.

 

Often yellowing needles is a natural process, especially when it is on the innermost needles.  Keeping an eye on the plant and recognizing contributing conditions is important to understanding what is taking place. If yellowing is occurring at the tips of branches or is more sever, bring in a sample or pictures to consult with one of our specialists. If you have any additional concerns about your plant, visit us at 228 West St. in Vernon, CT, email us at info@gardenbarn.com or call 860-872-7291.