White Pine needles browning and dropping

Three photos show browning needles on White Pine.

needles browning from tips

White Pine

White Pine

Advised that it is normal for white pines to drop needles in autumn.  Promised to send photos for expert to confirm nothing else going on here.  Tree is old and over 3 stories high!


  1. This is not seasonal needle drop as both the old and new leaves are affected. If it was needle yellowing of older needles, that would be normal, but the needles here are brown all the way up the tree. On first inspection of the tree, I thought it might be road salt injury, but you would see the majority of the damage on the side of the tree facing the road, but it appears the browning is all the way up the tree. Because of this, I am leaning more toward a pathogen or insect problem, but samples from twigs would need to be submitted to the plant disease diagnostic clinic for pathogen isolation or insect damage identification. I would watch the tree next year and do NOT fertilize the tree yet. I would wait to see if the buds break at the tips of the branches next year. If the same injury pattern happens again, we need to look further. White pine is very sensitive to salt injury due to road salt spray, salty wash from roads or from over application of fertilizers. Has anything been applied to the area? Herbicides? Spray drift from a nearby farm?

  2. Merry: Get some needles into the clinic for a diagnosis. Given the uniformity of the symptoms up the tree and the fact that it’s a white pine (which don’t get a lot of serious needle issues), I doubt this is a disease problem, but it’s best to check. I did see a brand new (for me) needle disease on white pine this year. Brian (:))

Leave a Reply