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What is a Seasonal Needle Drop?
Every year, evergreens will experience what is known as a seasonal needle drop. This needle drop is a normal part of its cycle. Needles of conifers have different life spans and don’t remain on the tree indefinitely. Many evergreen needles will turn yellow and brown as they age and later drop off. The change can be gradual, or with some tree species, it can be fast. The seasonal needle drop can cause concern to homeowners who aren’t familiar with this regular occurrence.
When a drought occurs, needle browning may be more noticeable because needles are shed due to the lack of water. White pines will especially show a dramatic needle drop. In mature species, the number of yellow needles dropped can outnumber the season’s growth. White pines typically keep needles for about three years, but in fall, those needles will change colors and later drop.
Red pines drop its needles in their fourth year. Fir and spruce needles turn yellow and drop too, but their change is less noticeable as their older needles are thinned out over time, which makes the experience more gradual and less drastic. It’s important to check your plants regularly for growth. If your current season’s growth is wilted or discolored, your tree may be suffering from disease or an insect issue and should be diagnosed properly.
Ultimately there is no control required with this natural process. You can take precautions to prevent any injury to younger trees to keep them looking their best for a long time. This means irrigating the tree thoroughly before the ground freezes, which will help to minimize the possibility of injury during winter weather. As long as the needle drop occurs from older growth and isn’t overly excessive, the needle drop is a natural process. Always follow practices to keep your tree healthy throughout the entire year and its lifetime.
For more information on how to care for your tree, contact Yellow Ribbon, a trusted tree expert. We can help you understand what is normal for plants and trees at different times and help diagnose any potential problems with your plants.