Pine with soft needles is Browning at the very top

Asked August 9, 2020, 5:18 PM EDT

We are concerned about our 16 year old soft pine needle tree that has always been healthy. This summer the very top of the tree, probably two top branches about a foot or two down, are Browning and losing needles. Is this just a way the tree is providing a new top, or could it be being attacked by a fungus or bug.? The rest of the tree is just fine. Thank you!

El Paso County Colorado

1 Response

Thank you for your question.

Brown evergreen needles, needle tips and branch tips are a common sight during the year in Colorado. These are all examples of winter injury usually caused by the drying winds, lack of snow cover, fluctuating temperatures, and low soil moisture that are typical of Colorado’s fall and winter seasons.

Give it a season to repair itself. If next year it has not recovered the winter damage may have been permanent. Of course this is a diagnosis over the internet and we have not inspected your tree. You may want to consider hiring a licensed arborist to take a closer look.