The Q&A Archives: Dying White Pines

Question: I have three 7-8 ft white pine trees which were planted approximately 15 months ago. They were very healthy, full trees until about a month ago when one began to turn brown. It now appears to be nearly dead. Now, the other two trees are begining to turn brown near the tops. It has been an unusually hot, dry summer, but I have watered the trees fairly regularly. I would hate to lose these beautiful trees. Any suggestions?

Answer: My first suspicion is that the cause is drought related, but there are also insect and disease problems that could cause this to happen. You might want to take samples to your County Extension (837-1402) to see if they can give you a firm diagnosis. In the meantime, dig down and check on your watering to be sure it is effective. New trees need to watered in case of dry spells for about the first three years while they are establishing themselves. The rule of thumb is an inch or two of water a week from the sky or the hose. It should be applied in a slow deep soaking to the root zone for best results and the root zone should be covered with several inches of organic mulch to help keep the soil cool and moist. Good luck with your trees!

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