White pine losing more needles than usual 3rd year growth lose

Asked November 4, 2018, 12:29 PM EST

I came back from a 2 week vacation in late September and my 18-yo columnar white pine had lost an abundance of needles, far more than the usual lose of three-yo needles dropped every year. Some tips of needles are already brown. This usually doesn't happen until spring. I didn't think the drought was that bad that my tree would have suffered so much.

Ramsey County Minnesota

3 Responses

The very, hot, dry weather in July was very hard on pines. They need an inch of water per week sometimes more if temperatures are high. Many pines of all varieties are showing a lot of stress this year.

Thank you. Is there anything I can do at this late date to help it through winter. Am running slow hose near trunk and will try to do again tomorrow, barring frozen hoses. Is pine still up taking water and how long after freeze might it still do. I can try to keep ground around tree from freezing. Can this help?

The best thing for the tree is to make sure it gets watered every week until the ground freezes. This will take a week or so below 32 F so it usually happens in mid Nov. the ground will still be warm even though temps are in the upper 20’s. That said, once the hose freezes you will have done all you can. We have had enough rain this week for your tree. Rain wets everything and does more than watering the root zone. Evergreens donot go dormant the way trees that loose their leaves do. Water in the soil also keeps the soil from freezing so deeply. Don’t over water if the soil is wet to a depth of 2 inches it is wet enough and should dry out before it is watered again.