Why are our pines failing after 13 years?

Asked October 5, 2016, 11:07 AM EDT

We seem to have three pines failing 13 years after planting them and I noticed many pines in our neighborhood of similar size looking the same. The area has a slight slope to it so water should drain away fairly well but we noticed at the time when the holes were dug for these trees that the area had a lot of clay (the Liberty on the Lake development in Stillwater) - water from rains pooled in the holes while we waited for our trees to be delivered and was very slow to drain. This spring we noticed that the trees are dying from the inside out. Still growing from the top and branch tips this year which is puzzling us. Is there any way to save them and if not, are there any varieties we could use for replacement that would do better in the area?

Washington County Minnesota spruce trees

1 Response

The growth on the ends of the branches appears very healthy. I think the needle loss in the interior is normal needle drop and needle drop from lack of light. The trees may be stressed from too much water due to the poor drainage.
Check out the trees for clay soil if your trees are not preforming as you wish.
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/landscaping/best-plants-for-tough-sites/
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/tough-trees-and-shrubs-for-tough-sites/