Sick Pine Tree

Asked August 6, 2018, 10:14 AM EDT

We have what I believe is a Blue Pine tree, approximately 30-years old that is browning and shedding needles at an unprecedented rate. The needles in turn are damaging our newly sewn lawn.

Wondering if it might need to be removed before it dies off or destroys the surrounding grass completely

Fairbanks North Star Borough Alaska

3 Responses


Pine trees can lose needles for a variety of reasons so it is important to determine the cause in order to best be able to address the issue. I'm hoping you can tell me a little bit more about the needles that are falling off. Are the needles that are being lost the ones closer to the trunk or are they farthest out on the branches toward the tips? Can you send a close up picture of the needles? Are there any unusual lines, spots, or discoloration on the needles?

Is there any new or unusual damage on the trunk of the tree?

When and how did you have the lawn redone? Were there any major changes to the soil in the root zone of the tree? What kind of damage are you seeing in the lawn associated with the needle loss?

Sorry for all the additional questions, but a little more information will help to determine what might be causing the needle loss on your tree.

Thank you Jessie.
First and foremost the tree is in the neighborhood of 35+ years old. In July, the new yard was prepped and seeded and the contractor was very careful to minimize and disruption of the trunk or exposed roots nor was there any significant additional soil added around them. At the same time, the lower half-dozen or so limbs were removed "professionally" to open up the yard a bit and increase head room. Obviously, with a new lawn, we used an exorbitant amount of municipal water for the first couple of months until the lawn was pretty well established.
We have routinely had browning over the past 14 years since we've lived here, but not to this extent. The needles are browning both on the interior and/or exterior ends of the limbs and some are dying along the entire length. At this time, the top 6 feet or so does not appear to be affected. I'm not sure the pictures do it justice. The needles themselves appear uniform in color. The accumulation of needles is stunting the grass somewhat, but it's still green so far.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the follow up and additional information! It sounds like it could be some general shock occurring due to the changes, even though they we minimized. There's not much more I can tell based on the photos alone.

At this point, you might want to contact Julie Riley in our Fairbanks office who is available to look at specimens and even do a site visit to check on your tree. Julie can be reached at 474-2423.