Mountain Hemlock , Green needle drop

Asked August 6, 2016, 12:03 PM EDT

Good Morning. In May, We planted three Mountain Hemlocks in a grouping, in 4 feet of good top soil. They are in shade, for 2/3rds of the day, and get plenty of water. Yesterday, the largest of the three trees, 4 ft tall, dropped a huge amount of its healthy green needles. They are in a pile around the bottom of the tree. We have looked for bugs, or anything on the bark of the tree, and don't see anything. Do you have any ideas as to the problem? Can we save the tree somehow? We bought all the trees from the same location, and we live in West Salem. We have attached a few photos. Help!

Polk County Oregon

3 Responses

Hi:

Well, when I see that sort of thing I do wonder if the tree dried out in the pot at some point prior to planting. It would respond in this way: dropping all the needles. If there is damage to the main trunk, or if voles have been burrowing around the base of that particular plant, the same thing might occur. If the plant is defoliating I don't think it will exhibit recovery (unlike a broadleaved plant). Feel free to contact me directly at the address below with additional questions or information. Thanks.

Well, I imagine that the tree could have dried out at some point before we purchased it. It does seem odd that it would be healthy and green until just a few days ago. It does sound like you are saying that recovery is not likely, so I guess we will just take it out and replace it. You can see by the two updated pictures that it now looks dead. Thanks for your help and advise.

Hi:

Having succeeded in drying out potted plants myself, I know it can happen. The larger the specimen versus pot size, the easier it can happen, as you can imaging. The problem with conifers is that they will not display symptoms at the time. They simply show the stress much later, maybe weeks.