My Norfolk pine is slowly dying

Asked May 23, 2017, 3:59 PM EDT


Couple months ago got a Norfolk pine. Was doing pretty well for the first couple weeks and then slowly the bottom branches started turning yellow brown. Since then the yellow has started moving up and the ends of the branches are turning yellow brown, starting with just the end of the needles.

Watering it once a week, don't think too much. Any ideas? Anyway to tell the difference between overwatering and mealy bugs?

Thank you!

Clay County South Dakota

1 Response

I don't know how big your pine is but it sounds like it could be a couple things. First of all, I suspect under-watering. When the soil feels dry when you stick your finger in it, water thoroughly so the excess comes out of the bottom of the pot. But do not let it sit in water either, that can cause root rot and similar symptoms.

It could also need more light. These like to be in full sun or at least a very bright location.

Finally, it could be low on nitrogen, so a little fertilizer might help.

There is a huge difference between these symptoms and mealybugs. They appear as small cottony spots/bumps, usually in the crotches of leaves, along the mid-veins of leaves and in the new growth. Nothing you mention would lead me to that problem. If you had symptoms like you describe, the mealy bugs would probably be all over the plant and very noticeable. See image below.