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I Planted Two Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber Pines In The Spring…

Ric Asked

I planted two Vanderwolf’s Pyramid limber pines in the spring and the trees did great during the summer. I probably got about 18″ of growth both in height and width. As fall and cooler weather approached I changed the watering from every other day to one time per week. I have noticed recently that many of the lower branches have their needles turning a bright yellow. Do you have any idea what might cause this?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Ric: Vanderwolf’s Pyramid is a cultivar of Pinus flexilis, commonly known as a limber pine. This upright evergreen will reach 20-25 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide at maturity. Unlike the species, this cultivar is a fast grower, putting on an average of 25 inches per year. So, yours are right on track. The foliage is bluish-green with twisted needles. These pines will perform best when planted in a space where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight each day. They are adaptable to soil conditions but prefer moist, well-drained sites. These evergreens are not susceptible to many insect or disease problems, so my initial thought is inadequate moisture level. Although it sounds like you have cut back on your watering, every other day may have been too much moisture depending on how much you were giving them and how well the soil drains. So at this point, with the colder temperatures, you can stop watering since Mother Nature should give the pines as much moisture as they will require at this time of the year, and avoid fertilizing. It is best to let the plants become established in the natural environment and then fertilize the following year. For now, spread a thin layer of mulch around the base of your pines, no more than 2 inches thick. This will help protect the roots as well as keep the moisture in. As with most evergreens, once the foliage turns yellow/brown there is nothing we can do to turn it back to green. This lower foliage will eventually drop. You may in the meantime contact the nursery/garden center where you purchased them to see what the guarantee/replacement policy is. Hopefully the pines will be fine; there is always a certain amount of stress involved when we add new additions to the garden but yours seem to be happy with all the new growth. At this point let’s just wait until next spring to see what shape they are in then. It is normal for them to drop some of their inner foliage in order to make room for new growth.

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