Pine Trees – Premature Needle Shedding

Q: All of a sudden pine straw falling from my trees is as green as if it were still on the tree. Why is this?

A: Premature needle shedding is most likely caused by big temperature swings coupled with summer drought. Dry weather caused the abscission layer between numerous needle clusters and stems to grow weakly this past summer. Temperature data at the Dunwoody station of the Georgia Environmental Monitoring Network ( shows that November 24 and December 2 had swings of 30 degrees in 24 hours. Needles, filled with water, tried to grow and subsequently fell from their unexpected weight. Look at the overall canopy of your trees. If you have lots of green needles still on the trees, there’s nothing to worry about.

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