Pine Tree Issue?

Asked October 12, 2015, 7:43 AM EDT

Hi. We just bought a house last year and it came with some pine trees in the back yard. It looks like they are about half way through turning completely brown and dropping needles. Is this common? We thought that pine trees were green year round. Just want to make sure that nothing is wrong with the tree and if there is something we can do for it. Picture attached. Thanks!

Johnson County Iowa

1 Response

Pines are "evergreens", but they do lose a portion of their needles every year. The length of life for needles on pines varies. For example, needles of Austrian pines live for 4 years and then drop. That means every year in fall, the 4 year-old needles drop.
For ponderosa pine, needle life is 3 years...so every year the 3 year -old needles drop.
Your pine looks like an Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus). Its needles live for two years, so every year in fall, the 2 year-old needles turn brown and drop. Next spring (May) it will push out new growth called "candles"; these will bear new needles that will themselves brown and fall after 2 years.