Pre-mature pine cones

Asked July 15, 2019, 10:45 AM EDT

I have a 24'" approx. 40 foot tall White Pine Tree that is in very good health with much growth showing through the tree. We have lived at my current location for 7 years and have never noticed the pre-mature pine cones falling from the tree. The cones are green and brown in color and some as 4 to 5 inches long and other only 2 to 3 inches. I have picked up 100-150 or more of these pine cones from my lawn. Any help would be appreciated. Don K

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Sometimes pine trees produce a high number of cones in a particular year because they are under some type of environmental stress (excessive rainfall last year was a stressor for many trees). The trees try to produce more seeds to reproduce themselves when there are signs of trouble, basically. Some of the cones you're seeing drop off are probably older ones, but also the tree may be shedding some of the excess cones or ones that were insufficiently pollinated. Squirrels sometimes also will pull off some pinecones.