The Q&A Archives: Cedar dropped needles

Question: Planted two 5 foot cedar trees last Sept. Thrived in winter snow until Jan when they dropped their needles. Thought they were dead but new needles now forming on top half of trees only. What will help trees now?

Answer: Needle loss is normal but excessive foliage (needle) loss is not normal. Winter stress, air pollution and high Nitrogen levels can contribute to excessive needle loss. For positive diagnosis, I would need to see the foliage. Inspect them to see if you can find any speckling - yellow to brownish colored spots on the needles, which would indicate mite damage. If not, your tree is probably dealing with winter die back or droughty soil conditions. Try watering deeply once each week and watching the trees for new growth. There's not much else you can do at this point. If the lower branches do not leaf out you may have to prune them off the tree. Best wishes with your cedar trees.

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