Trimming, Watering, and Beyond

Reasons Your Conifers Could Be Dropping Needles

Conifers can include pine, spruce, cedar, and similar trees that have needles instead of leaves. Sometimes, these trees behave differently than broadleaf trees. For instance, instead of having symptoms such as curling leaves or wilting, your conifer may simply start dropping needles. Here are some of the reasons your conifers could be dropping more needles than usual.

1. Drought

Like any tree, conifers, such as pine and spruce trees, need enough water to stay healthy and strong. Although the waxy coating on the needles can help reduce water loss (one reason why some conifers can be so drought-resistant), they can still become stressed if they don't have enough water.

If your tree is losing a lot of needles, the first thing you should check is the moisture levels in the soil around the tree. If the soil is extremely dry, or if the tree can't get water to its branches due to a girdling root or some other reason, the tree may start to lose needles. You may need a tree service to help you set up a watering system so the tree gets regular watering.

2. Aphids and spider mites

Some types of pests can suck the juice out of a tree's needles and may cause some of them to die. Aphids are one example of this. The more pests are involved in the infestation, the more likely they are to cause a lot of needles to die.

Spider mites are another example of a pest that can suck the life out of needles. These pests may be so small that they can be hard for the untrained eye to see clearly and identify accurately. For best results, you'll want to have your professional tree services expert inspect the tree to discover whether it has a pest problem and which pests to treat.

3. Diseases

Different fungal diseases cause different symptoms, and some can cause your conifers to lose more needles than they should. Some issues that can damage conifer needles and cause them to drop include needle blights, fungal canker, needle cast, and similar diseases. In some cases, antifungal treatments may help your tree recover from the damage.

These are just some of the reasons you may find more needles dropping from your conifers than usual. As you can see, they range from moderate problems, such as a stressed tree that needs more water, to a serious pest or disease problem. Your local tree service professional can help you identify and solve the problem so your trees recover as quickly as possible.