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Friday Garden Goods: "Why are my evergreens dropping needles?"

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At this time of year, we get frequent calls from customers who are seeing the needles dropping off their evergreen trees. Rest assured, in most cases, this is very typical behavior for evergreen trees. It is called Seasonal Needle Drop and it occurs in most evergreen trees, including spruce, pines and arborvitae.

The needles of evergreen trees has a life span and do die off depending on the species and time of the year. Depending on environmental stresses, such as drought, the needle drop can be more severe. Regardless of timing, the needle drop on Eastern White Pines tends to be more noticeable than that of Arborvitae, Colorado Blue Spruce and Norway Spruce.


If you are concerned about keeping your Evergreen Trees healthy and minimizing seasonal needle drop it is important to be diligent about keeping your trees healthy. There are a couple things we recommend.

  1. Keep your trees watered throughout the season, right up until the ground freezes. You can water less in cooler temperatures. If you have questions about how much to water, feel free to call our Garden Center at 847-658-3883.
  2. Use Bonide Holly-Tone at least twice a year to feed and fertilize your evergreen trees. This will help minimize yellowing and seasonal needle drop.
  3. Apply Wilt Pruf. An application of Wilt Pruf will help lock in moisture and prevent winter damage and winter burn from salt, snow and ice. Read more about winter burn in evergreens and boxwood here.
To learn more about seasonal needle drop, click here to read more from The Morton Arboretum.

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