Dying jack pine tree

Asked July 25, 2016, 1:03 PM EDT

i have an older jack pine tree (at least that's what I've been told) that appears to be dying from the ground up. The needles have turned brown starting with branches closer to the ground and moving upward. Is there anything we can do to save this tree?

Stearns County Minnesota

5 Responses

Pines do drop a certain amount of needles as part of their natural process. Would you be able to send some pictures? A picture of the whole tree, showing the browning / branches, and some close ups of the needles on the tree would be helpful.

Thank you. I sent one pic but can send more if you need them.


Some close up photos of the trunk would be very helpful.

FYI - I believe this is actually a Scots pine or Scotch pine due to the orange bark in the upper area trunk and branches.

Thanks. I'm trying to send a few more pictures, but I can't currently download any more pics from my phone. Since you're the expert, I expect you know what kind of tree it is better than what I've been told. Any advice as to how to help the tree survive, or is it beyond help. It just started showing the brown needles this year, for the most part, and seems to be greener the further up one looks.

Trees can be stressed for various reasons:

  • Drought
  • Environmental affects (pollution)
  • Storm damage, mechanical damage (mowers, weed whips)
In most cases, it's a combination of several things. When a tree is stressed by drought or suffers damage, it may be a target for insects. Zooming into your picture, it looks like there are many holes about the size of a pencil eraser on this tree. These are caused by birds feeding on insects or they are exit holes for insects emerging from the tree. Bark beetles attack pines by feeding on the wood. Plants like trees have tissues called xylem (the wood) and phloem (the inner layer of bark). Sugars produced in the leaves through photosynthesis are moved from the leaves to the roots via the phloem. This process supports the transport of water and nutrients from the roots through the xylem to the rest of the tree. Other pests that affect pines and create browning of needles include needle scale, needle rust, and mildew.

From the picture, the tree has is apparently stressed and insects are feeding on the inner bark and attracting birds like woodpeckers and sapsuckers. Your next step should be to have the tree assessed by a certified arborist who can evaluate the tree in person and provide advice on whether the tree is worth saving. http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/how-to-hire-a-professional-arborist/