Answer: Based on your description, I am not certain where the dead needles are. If they are toward the interior and base of the tree, they would be older needles that drop naturally over time -- thus the natural carpet of needles beneath the tree providing a natural mulch. But if they are at the tips of the branches or at the top of the tree then they would be an indication of a pest or disease problem. If this is the case, I would strongly suggest you consult with your local county extension and/or a professionally trained and certified arborist to obtain a more specific explanation of the browning. Based on knowing that, you can decide what to do. I'm sorry I can't be more specific long distance.
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