Seasonal Needle Drop

Submitted by Loren Nagy, Natural Resources Commissioner

The time of year is approaching where arborists often hear the following: “I think there is something wrong with my pine tree. Can you come and look at it? It looks sick and the needles are turning brown.” There is probably nothing wrong with your pine tree. What it probably has is seasonal needle drop. Seasonal needle drop is a normal part of the life cycle of an evergreen. It is most noticeable on White Pine trees and sometimes Arborvitae. 

All evergreen plants will shed or drop older needles, but it is not nearly as noticeable as the White Pine and Arborvitae. The White Pine is the most dramatic as their older needles will turn yellow and drop. These older needles are typically 2 to 3 years old. Seasonal needle drop is often mistaken for a disease or insect problem and can cause the homeowner a great deal of distress. Is there cause for alarm? Probably not.  

Interested in more information about seasonal needle drop? Check out the link below:

Photo: Morton Arboretum website