Why is my fir tree needles turning brown at the ends

Asked July 30, 2018, 2:28 PM EDT

I have fed, trimmed and loved this tree for many years. Every year the ends of the needles turn brown at the ends, but this year is worse than usual. The tree companies I have had look at it don't seem to have an answer. Although they don't mind spending my money feeding it. I have attached a picture.

The tree is located on the northeast side of my home. It gets full morning sun but the house is in way of late afternoon sun. It is in a swell for drainage, but the top of the ground doesn't remain completely moist. The tree itself does not have any drip lines, but it does have some grass surrounding it that do have sprinklers.

Arapahoe County Colorado

1 Response

Thank you for the good photos. It could be a several things. It could be needle cast. However, this can only be diagnosed by looking at the needles under a compound microscope.
http://extension.colostate.edu/docs/misc/NeedleCasts.pdf

It could be related to the environment. It's hard for me to tell if the entire tree is affected or if there is some type of pattern.

If there's a spiral pattern to the affected needles, that would indicate root damage.

If the top of the tree is unaffected, that would indicate that the tree is getting too much water.

If the entire tree is affected with no particular pattern, that could indicate not enough water.

And another possibility would be a canker on the trunk of the tree, although I think an arborist would have found that problem.

Unfortunatley, I cannot diagnose it accurately. I suggest you contact the Arapahoe County extension office, and ask they to come out and look at your tree. They call it a "lawn check," even though they will look at your tree.
http://arapahoe.extension.colostate.edu/county-directory/
There is a $75 fee, but it may well be worth it.

Sorry I could not be of more help.