Pine Tree – Brown Needles in Fall

Q: I’m seeing a lot of brown needles on my pine trees this fall. Is this normal?

A: It’s perfectly normal. Although we think of pine trees as evergreen, a better description would be “semi-evergreen”. An individual needle stays on the tree for two to four years, depending on species and weather. As the needles age, they become less efficient at producing nutrients for the tree. Younger needles at branch tips cast more shade on them. The old needles finally turn brown and drop off; sometimes in copious quantities.

If the brown needles were seen on an entire branch, from the tip back to the base, you might have an insect or disease problem. But that’s not what you have.

There’s no need to worry.

pine brown branches