pine tree top turned brown

Asked July 6, 2017, 3:10 PM EDT

The top two feet of our pine tree turned brown. We noticed it today. It seemed to have happened overnight. The tree was present when we moved here 6 years ago. It sits in morning sun. I do not know the species, but it does not shed its needles. It has been healthy looking until this event. Is the tree dying, infected, ...? What can we do? Deborah

Howard County Maryland insect issues

3 Responses

It looks like your tree has symptoms of pine weevil damage. The larvae of this insect feed in the terminal leader of pines and cause this type of dieback at the tip. The best thing you can do is prune out the damage (and dispose of it in the trash, not compost). Prune down to just below the damaged area. That will of course affect the natural shape of your tree, but you can establish a new leader by bending up and staking one of the other top branches so a new top branch becomes dominant.

Here is additional information on the pine weevil, from Penn State University.
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/white-pine-weevil

ckc

Thank you! We have followed your instructions.
We did not establish a new leader. In not doing so, will the tree shape have no pointed top, or will a side branch become the new leader and continue growing sideways?

Deborah

The tree will not have a pointed top unless you help it along by staking up one of the side branches. The following page from the Virginia Cooperative Extension has good instructions on training a replacement leader.
http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-456/430-456.html

ckc