Drying and Dying Branches on Norfolk Island Pine - Knowledgebase Question

New York, NY
Question by auroreden
January 1, 1999
This year, as last, I bought a beautiful 4-foot Norfolk Island Pine for Christmas tree. Last year's died after about three months indoors, despite my best efforts -- its branches began to dry out and curl into claw-like shapes at the ends and gradually the entire plant dried out. (Yes, I was giving it water, though according to all instructions I'd received -- and the experience with my mother's plant -- I did let the soil dry somewhat to the touch before watering rather heavily.)

The conditions in my apt. are not ideal -- I have only northwestern light and the windows all have blown-air heaters. However, I've done my best, as far as I can tell. I have two humidifiers running at all times and I have fed the new tree with Jobe's plant sticks. Yet now this tree is following last year's example. Three or four branches in the middle of the tree are beginning to dry out and curl under. Is there anything I can do to save the plant, or is it already too late? Any instructions on watering, feeding, need for artificial light in addition to the natural northwestern light, emergency care, etc, would be very greatly appreciated.

(I should mention, in case you think it might be useful, that I do have a plant area near a window with an unused heater. However, that area is used for overwintering -- successfully, for the most part -- jasmine, fuchsia, rose geranium, patchouli and tibouchinna plants. Which means it is lit with two large "wonderlites" . ) Sorry to be so longwinded, but I wanted to give you the full picture; I love my plants and want them to thrive, not die.


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Answer from NGA
January 1, 1999

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Finally, it is possible that the weight of the ornaments (or heat from lights) damaged tissues while the tree was decorated and the damage is only now becoming apparent.

In terms of emergency care, there isn't really an instant cure-all. Reducing the ambient temperature would probably be the one best thing you could do along with controlling insects if there are any on the tree. Good luck with your tree!



Finally, it is possible that the weight of the ornaments (or heat from lights) damaged tissues while the tree was decorated and the damage is only now becoming apparent.

In terms of emergency care, there isn't really an instant cure-all. Reducing the ambient temperature would probably be the one best thing you could do along with controlling insects if there are any on the tree. Good luck with your tree!

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