The Q&A Archives: Dying evergreens in one location

Question: We have a row of about l5 assorted evergreens over a 200 ft. area. In one spot, 4 trees have died. A Frazier fur, a Norway Spruce, a white pine, and now another white pine appears to be dying. The same symptoms repeat themselves: browning needles, and in spring the new buds dry up. The tree eventually dies. There are Norway Spruces on either side of this location, and all other evergreens in the row are healthy and thriving. We nurture them carefully, watering and fertilizing when required. Why do these trees die in just one spot?

Answer: How perplexing! Since such a variety of trees have died in that spot, I would suspect a soil problem. Unfortunately, these can be hard to figure out, but with some detective work you may be able to do it. Is there any chance of a gas or water line leaking or similar problem? Is there a surface drainage problem in that spot? Next, dig down a bit and see if there is buried rock, an unusual area of subsoil, evidence of using the spot as a trash pile or burn area, or any other sign of soil disturbance? Think back (and maybe ask neighbors) and see if there was ever a building there or a spill of any kind there, perhaps gasoline or a chemical of some sort.... Eventually, you may discover the cause behind the dead trees.

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