Austrian pine turning brown at the top

Asked January 22, 2014, 12:38 PM EST

I have seen several dead Austrian pine trees in our neighborhood (Highlands ranch), these seem to be very young trees.

We have a couple of Austrian pines in our back yard that were planted 5 years ago. One now appears to be turning brown at the top.

Is the tree sick? What can I do to stop it from dying?


Douglas County Colorado

2 Responses

Many young Austrian pines die soon after planting, due to
-insufficient rootball
-cold dry winter (better to plant evergreens in spring!)
-no water supplied during dry warm winter

As for your Austrian pine - it does not look like it has a fungal disease. If you can get up on a stepladder, look for any sap oozing from the dead stem. If possible, prune out the dead stem (it looks about 18" long), back to a junction with live wood/green needles.

Since your pine is out in the open in a windswept area, do be sure to water its rooting area during warm dry spells in winter when there is no snowcover. It will help to continue using dropped pine needles as a mulch, but don't let them accumulate more than about 6 inches depth.

Thank you!