My vanderwolf Pyramid Limber Pines have been planted for 14 months. Some needles are turning brown. Can you tell me why. Should I be concerned?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Marilyn in Arizona: Are the needles that have turned brown on the tips of the evergreen or is it the inner foliage that has discolored? If it is the inner foliage then you have nothing to worry about. This is a natural process that evergreens go through in order to make room for new growth. If the needles are on turning brown on the tips and spreading throughout the plant then something else is going on. Vanderwolf’s Pyramid is a cultivar of Pinus flexilis, commonly known as a Limber Pine. These evergreens are resistant to most insect and disease problems but as with any plant that is not growing in ideal conditions they are more susceptible to insect/disease issues. These slow growing 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. Since they have been in your garden for 14 months they are still considered a newer planting so additional water may be needed if Mother Nature does not provide adequate moisture. I am not sure what the rainfall has been like where you live but if the soil is on the dry side your pines may be stressed and need moisture to help establish their root systems. Another thought is if you or your lawn care service has sprayed any chemicals recently. We see a lot of tip damage on plant material when chemicals are sprayed in the vicinity, especially on a windy day. This is usually only found on one side of the plant. As with most evergreens, once the foliage turns brown and drops they typically do not put on any new growth to replace what has been lost. Without being able to see your evergreens, I cannot say for certain what is going on so taking a sample to your County Cooperative Extension Service for a positive diagnosis.