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Garden Pests and Diseases: Evergreen Turning Brown

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Forum: Garden Pests and DiseasesReplies: 8, Views: 77
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Little Rock, AR

November 12, 2012
1:15 PM

Post #9331338

My evergreen (I think it's a Green Giant, or something close), planted 3 yrs. ago, has started turning brown. It's all over the tree. The brown needles are falling off. Two images are included, one a blurry close up of one of the pieces that fell off when I touched it. Can anyone please help with what might be causing this? I live in Arkansas, where it hasn't really gotten very cold yet, but we did have a dry summer with not too much supplemental irrigation supplied. Thanks.

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Worcester, MA

November 17, 2012
6:23 PM

Post #9335844

Your tree doesn't look that bad to me. Mine often 'brown up' in bits and pieces all over. I have pyramids that are over 25 years old, emeralds that are 10 years old, americans that are over 20 and they all do it. They 'shed' debris all year round. Every now and again I might give the smaller ones a good shake or scrubble my hands through to clean them up.
Little Rock, AR

November 19, 2012
6:24 PM

Post #9337560

davidsl88: thanks, that's a bit of a relief. This is the first year it has done this. I assume since it's an evergreen, though, that when these brown pieces fall off the stem is just going to be bare in those places forever...yes? This is my first evergreen to plant new, so I'm not familiar with their aging process. Thanks.
Worcester, MA

November 22, 2012
6:24 AM

Post #9339767

Donna, there really aren't any 'bare' spots; your tree will continue to grow and fill in and out with plenty of 'green'. We living creatures all 'shed' detritus and your tree will too. If your tree gets plenty of sun (6hrs+) and isn't drowning, I really wouldn't worry. I'll take a pic of mine the next time I go out to show you the 'brown' spots and the debris that falls to the ground throughout the year (that I don't bother to rake out). They're still healthy, growing and green.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

December 25, 2012
11:31 AM

Post #9366808

In a year that you recognize is having a drier than normal summer I would deep soak a plant like that a few times. Especially one that is just a few years old.
As they get older the roots spread and can collect water from farther away and deeper in the soil. But a young, small root system is not so good at finding water.

Evergreens (conifers and broadleaf evergreens) will grow new leaves or needles before shedding the old. If bare spots are showing up it might be that the plant is shedding more than is normal, perhaps because of the dry conditions.

It will not help the leaves the plant has already decided to shed, but can help it regrow, and, when done early enough and consistently enough, can help the plant retain the leaves just as if the normal rain cycle was happening.

Be aware, also that certain pests are more common in drier than normal conditions. I would check the growth that is still healthy for spider mites.


mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

December 26, 2012
3:58 PM

Post #9367841

check for bagworms also (in addition to the spidermites). i agree that a young tree needs supplemental watering until it is very well established.
Little Rock, AR

August 12, 2013
9:45 AM

Post #9628400

Thank you all for your replies. My tree did have a bag worm infestation - but that was an earlier year. I picked them all off rather than spray, and the tree has now recovered nicely including the brown spots I inquired about. DavidsI88 was right - as the tree has continued to grow, the bad spots have disappeared and the tree looks very nice this summer.


Hummelstown, PA
(Zone 6b)

August 12, 2013
8:17 PM

Post #9629108

Thanks for the update. Im glad it recovered.
Worcester, MA

January 29, 2014
3:33 PM

Post #9758359

Hi there! Can't believe it's been over a year since I've been able to log on and rummage about. But there was this thread, at the top of the page, so I decided to pop in - I'm glad to see your update and you're happy with your tree's progress. Happy gardening! :>)

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