The Q&A Archives: Pine Tree trouble

Question: I planted three 24-inch box elderica pines. They have all gotten brown on the interior portions, really bad. I think they are in a clay soil, poor drainage. Anything I can do to give them a chance to recover?

Answer: Eldarica Pine (also called Afghan Pine) is perfectly suited to desert type environments and grow well with little water once established. It is normal for the oldest needles, those in the center of the plant, to die and fall off. As long as the tips of the branches put out new growth, it's normal. However, if your new trees are suddenly showing brown needles, suspect a root problem. Over or under watering can show similar symptoms with pines. When you water be sure to water long enough that the full 24" of root mass gets wet, then allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again. Sometimes it's hard to judge just how deeply the water is penetrating. You might try watering as usual and then using a metal probe to check soil moisture. It should go into moist soil easily but will be hard to push into dry soils. Adjust your watering so the water percolates down at least 2'. Hope this helps your trees recover!

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