How to Save Dying Pine Tree | Get Pine Tree Back to Life (Info-Graphic)


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Pine trees play an extraordinary role in the landscape and serve as shade trees and wind protection, and privacy screens all year round. When your pine trees are turning brown inside out, you may be wondering how to save a dying pine tree. The sad truth is that not all pine tanning can be stopped, and many trees die from this condition. In this guide, I will guide you on how to save dying pine tree.

How to Tell if Your Pine Tree Is Dying

Corrosion on Needles

If this happens, the health of your tree may suffer. The pines will soon begin to turn brown. This could affect your tree’s lower, middle, and upper halves. That’s a good start, but you’ll need to take it a step further.

Dropping Needles Too Soon

There is no need to be concerned about pine needles falling as the seasons change. Autumn begins when two- to three-year-old trees change color and shed their hands (although many pine trees keep their needles all year).

Pinecones with blemishes

If your pinecones have small black spots, a fungus has infected them. This disease can also cause the needles to be brown, so inspect your pinecones as soon as you notice needle discolouration.

Grass with spines

Is a small section of your pine tree’s bark peeling? Even if this isn’t a problem, woodpeckers, squirrels, and other small animals may cause minor damage to your tree.

Weaknesses or Fragments

The weight of the branches on a pine tree should not be an issue. An occasional branch loss is an average for trees in storms, but it should not happen regularly.

How to Save Dying Pine Tree

Pine trees are an essential part of the landscape throughout the year because they provide shade, wind protection, and privacy screens. If the interior of your pine tree is turning brown, you may be wondering how to save it. Pine tanning is inevitable, and as a result, many trees perish. This guide will instruct you on how to rescue a dying pine tree.

Before replanting, ensure your pine species’ sun, soil, and climate are ready. So, you can save it if you do this:

Water the transplanted pine tree once a week for the first six months if there is less than an inch of rainfall per week.

During extended dry spells, continue watering the tree and regularly provide 1 to 4 crawls of water. 

Gradually moisten immersion tubes so that water can reach the roots. You must do this for the first three years (if your pine is young)

Locate a roof-mounted watering hose at least 30 centimeters away.

Keep the blades away from the pine to prevent insect damage. 

You should prune Pines in November and February, when pine beetles are less active, to reduce the risk of infestation.

If construction is nearby, you should construct a post-and-rope fence around the pine tree’s roots. Due to their ability to compact the soil, sectioning machines can damage the pine root framework.

Typically, when this occurs, the tree recovers on its own.

To stimulate growth, remove dead branches from the tree.

As a pine tree grows, the soil around it can become compacted, especially if there are many pavers or rocks nearby. Trees cannot obtain the necessary nutrients, water, and oxygen when compacted soil.

Even in the sweltering summer heat, you should wait until the soil surrounding your pine tree has dried before watering it again. Watering pines is a delicate process because they are intolerant to wet conditions.

Additionally, you could drill holes around the tree and fill them with organic material to promote tree growth. You can remove dead spots and cankers by removing branches. If the problem extends to the trunk, apply a different strategy.

Diseases and Pests of Pine Tree

Diseases and Pests of Pine Tree

A pine tree can face hundreds of diseases, pests, and other growing challenges. The best way to combat these issues is to know what they are in advance. Here we’ll discuss some of the most common diseases of pine trees and pest control tips to prevent them from affecting your yard or plantation. If you grow pines in your yard or on an acre or so of land, then chances are you’ve got at least one pine tree. It is estimated that there are around 20 species of pines grown in North America alone, and many variations exist between them.

Pitch and Rot Diseases in Pine Trees

Pitch and Rot Diseases in Pine Trees

Pitch diseases of pine trees are caused by the fungus “Botrytis cinerea.” This fungus causes the appearance of needles that are turned black and dried out. The reason for this disease is that the fungus wants to overwinter on the tree’s needles.

Symptoms of pitch disease appear in late summer or early autumn and can be identified by their appearance. If you see pitch black needles on the affected pine trees, it indicates the presence of pitch disease. If you want to prevent pitch disease in your pine trees, make sure that you prune the branches back to healthy wood before they drop their needles.

This will prevent the fungal spores from reaching the fresh wood below. If pitch disease is already present in your pine trees, there are a few things that you can do to treat the disease. First, if you have pitch-black needles on your pine trees, you should investigate the cause.

Did pitch disease cause it? If so, you need to cure the pine trees. When fungus spores are still dormant in the spring, you can make tea using one part white vinegar and five parts water. Pour one cup of white vinegar into a bowl and add five cups of water.

Conifer Aphids and Ladybugs

Conifer Aphids and Ladybugs
Source: NC State University White Pine Aphid

Aphids are small, black soft-bodied insects that feed off of the sap of a pine tree. When aphids feed on pine trees, they leave behind a “cushion” of sticky “camas” or webbing that the aphids have made. This sticky webbing catches branches, leaves, pine needles, and other items that the aphids feed on.

Aphids also have the potential to transmit other diseases to pine trees. If aphids are transmitting a disease, you will see conifers exhibiting symptoms such as yellowing leaves, wilting branches, stunted growth, and dieback. There are a few things that you can do to prevent aphids from attacking your pine trees.

First of all, ensure that your planting area is well-drained and that there is no standing water in the soil or ground. This will make it difficult for aphids to find a place to settle down. You can also try using ladybugs as aphid predators. Ladybugs are available in most garden stores and can be placed around your pine trees to guard against aphids.

Red Spruce Beetles

Red Spruce Beetles

As with most red spruce trees, the larvae of this particular beetle feed on the needles of pine trees and other conifers. The red spruce beetle is the most common species that attacks pines. Red spruce beetles overwinter in the roots of conifers. In spring, the beetles emerge from their winter hiding places to mate. Once the female beetles have fertilized the pine tree roots, they begin laying eggs.

The eggs hatch and the larvae begin feeding, usually from the base of the needles. As the infestation grows, more and more pine needles are damaged and die. The best way to prevent the red spruce beetle from attacking your pine trees is to plant a mix of species that will keep the surrounding area free of conifers. This will stop the beetle from feeding and ensure that the species you want to grow thrive.

Balsam Poplar Weevil

Balsam Poplar Weevil

This particular balsam poplar weevil is a pest of the balsam poplar. It is found in the eastern and southern parts of the United States. The balsam poplar weevil attacks balsam poplar trees during the summer and autumn.

The balsam poplar weevil feeds on the balsam poplar’s needles. This causes the needles to fall off the branches and then spread the infestation to other nearby trees. When weevils attack balsam poplar trees, the leaves turn yellow, drop and become covered with a white powdery coating.

You can prevent the balsam poplar weevil from attacking your pine trees by planting deciduous trees near them. This will keep the weevil away from the pines, ensuring they don’t spread their infestation to other trees.

Norwegian Spruce Beetle


This is a pest of Norway spruce trees, especially in cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Norwegian spruce beetles can be found in the eastern United States and Canada. The Norwegian spruce beetle can also be found in Europe and northern Asia, especially in Russia and Finland. During the winter and spring, the beetles lay their eggs on the branches of the Norway spruce trees.

The eggs hatch and the larvae begin to feed on the needles. As the infestation grows, more needles are eaten, and the tree dies. The female Norwegian spruce beetles are much larger than the males and are also darker in colour.

You can prevent the Norwegian spruce beetles from attacking your pine trees by planting deciduous trees near them. This will keep the weevils away from the pines, ensuring they don’t spread their infestation to other trees.

Sumac Worms and Scales

Sumac Worms and Scales

This is an invasive plant disease of the eastern red cedar, yellow puccoon, and the common laurel. These plant fungus spores are carried by the insects and birds that feed off the plants. Once the fungus spores land on the hosts, they begin to infect the conifers.

The most common species of fungi that kill the pines are the Sumac fungi. Planting deciduous trees near your pines is the easiest way to prevent sumac-induced pine mortality. This will prevent the insects and birds from feeding on your trees and spreading the fungi that cause their death.

How to Bring a Dying Pine Tree Back to Life

How to Bring a Dying Pine Tree Back to Life

Pine trees are sometimes too sick, stressed, or damaged to be saved. The only way to combat pests like the Southern pine beetle, which decimates pine forests in the US, is to remove all infested trees. So, let’s discuss how you can do it:

  • Remove yourself from the roots of the tree.
  • Preserve Your Pine
  • Prune back to healthy branches.

Remove yourself from the roots of the tree.

Using a drill, create numerous holes in the exposed soil surrounding the base if a dense, permanent material covers the ground. Create a series of holes by drilling dozens of holes 12 inches apart. Keep an eye out for dieback in the tree’s upper branches.  

A product containing organic matter and mycorrhizal fungi should be used to fill the holes. Beneficial fungi are fungi that promote root health. There are numerous additional benefits, such as helping the tree resist disease, tolerating extreme soil temperatures, and competing with lawn grasses. Fungi receive sugars in exchange for plant roots. Be sure to water the tree thoroughly before applying the fungi. Apply water slowly so it does not run off; you want it to permeate the subsoil.

Preserve Your Pine

Fall or early winter is a great time to transplant pine trees after the summer heat has subsided. You must ensure that the location where you intend to plant your pine tree is suitable for the one you wish to cultivate.

After transplanting, provide one inch of water per week. If you see great rainfalls, one inch per week doesn’t provide it with water. Slowly water the roots with a soaker hose to ensure that the water reaches the origins of the plant. 

Prune back to healthy branches.

Rinse your cutting tools with rubbing alcohol after each use. Avoid trimming the branches flush with the tree’s trunk to avoid harming the bark. Cut at 45 to 60 degrees outside the branch collar to preserve the swollen area around the branch’s base. 

Tree paint and wound dressing are unnecessary unless you are trying to control disease-carrying insects. According to research, moist wound dressings are ineffective at preventing decomposition, and some feed pathogenic microorganisms.

How to Save a Pine Tree from Dying During Rainy Season

How to Save a Pine Tree from Dying During Rainy Season

Detection of Pathogens and Invasive Organisms

Check if your tree has signs of disease. Follow the branches of yellowing, browning, and falling needles to find lesions. Examine the tree’s trunk for signs of illness. Remove and burn fallen branches that may be onlookers’ paths to ensure no one is injured. The only thing you can do to save the trees from this fatal disease is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Examine the pine sap for the presence of sawdust to determine if beetles have infested it. You must prune infested branches when beetles attack trees. Preventing stress through attentive care is the best (and sometimes only) control method.

Remove Mistletoe

Mistletoe typically grows on pine trees, so keep your eyes peeled for it. The plants lose strength and start killing pines by stealing their nutrients, despite their festive appeal. 

To remove mistletoe:

  • Prune back to the lateral branches (12 inches).
  • Remove the green portion you see using garden shears.
  • Cover it (the area) with black polyethene strips to block out light and prevent further spread.

How to Save a Browning Pine Tree during a Drought?

How to Save a Browning Pine Tree during a Drought

You may not save the tree if a browning evergreen is not diagnosed and treated quickly. If your evergreen is not yet dead, the following treatments will help it recover:

Keep it off dead branches.

To prevent further infestations and diseases, remove any diseased or dead branches from the tree and replace them with healthy ones. In some instances, it may be necessary to prune the tree whereas, in others, you may remove the entire tree. So, it is essential to contact a tree expert to assess the extent of the damage and provide guidance on the next steps.

In well-drained soil, it is recommended to water deeply once per week, allowing water to penetrate 12 to 15 inches. This interval could be every two weeks in soils with high clay content.

Multiple light watering encourages root development near the soil’s surface.

  • Give the tree one last deep soaking before the ground freezes or hardens in the fall.
  • Mulch around the plant’s roots to retain soil moisture.

Consequently, the soil will keep more heat during the winter.

Examine the soil’s pH and composition. 

Modify the tree as necessary to meet its specifications. You can use compounds containing lime or limestone to increase the pH. To reduce pH, you can use sulfur, aluminium sulfate, or organic material.

Only apply fertilizer in the spring and early summer. Late summer or early autumn fertilization stimulates growth that cannot harden before the onset of winter. Due to this new growth method, the tree is subjected to unwarranted stress.

You can use Fungicides to prevent the recurrence of the disease. Apply only after all diseased and damaged branches have been removed.

Provide trees with physical protection during the winter months. Burlap and tree wraps are both excellent options.

If you observe multiple stressed evergreens exhibiting similar symptoms, you may be dealing with a more prominent issue (including the age of your trees). A certified arborist can inspect your entire yard or landscape if this is the case.

Environmental Causes of Pine Tree Browning

Environmental Causes of Pine Tree Browning

Pine trees may turn brown with years of precipitations or droughts. A pine tree’s inability to absorb water and preserve its needles is a common cause of needle browning. Root rot appears by excess moisture and inadequate drainage.

If droughts are causing the browning needles in the center of pine trees, water them more frequently, particularly in the autumn. Even in the sweltering summer heat, you should wait and see if the surrounding pine soil tree has dried before watering it again. 

When watering pines, it is essential to strike the right balance. A fungus infects pine needles. However, it is not a specific fungal disease cause. 

A broad-spectrum fungicide containing neem oil or copper salts may save your tree if you are sure it is receiving the proper water quantity and there are no pests around. Some species may live their entire lives in the bark of a tree. 

Because they will not attack stressed trees, watering and fertilizing your tree is an effective preventative measure. Numerous small holes have appeared in the branches and trunk of the tree, indicating that it is already infected. 

Help for Unhealthy Pine Trees

Applying the borax powder to freshly cut stumps will help prevent the spread of disease to nearby trees. Employ a salt shaker to distribute the borax powder.

By burning prescribed and managed fires every two or three years, infected needles and infectious spores can be eradicated and eradicated. Fungicides applied by professionals can also be used to control the fungus. Three weeks after the initial spray, when new needles are approximately half-grown between May and June, apply a second spray.

Cotton root rot is one of the most difficult to control-plant diseases. Protect infected areas by sowing a grass crop resistant to the condition in the surrounding area. As a result of the plant’s resistance to the disease, it cannot pass through. If it has cotton root rot but has not yet reached a critical stage, you may be able to save it.

Copper fungicide application before the emergence of spring buds in the summer, when the needles have reached their entire length. In addition to relocating sprinklers away from infected tree needles, you can contain this disease by relocating sprinklers.

Needle rust causes minor damage. During dry weather, water your trees and apply mulch to maintain moist soil, improving your diseased tree’s health.

Preventing the spread of pitch canker to healthy trees is the most effective way to combat it. Remove branches of infected pine trees that are not severely infected. All pruning must be performed with clean equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the pine come back to life?

Yes, pines are available in varieties that can grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. Although a completely brown branch will not turn green and form new needles, identifying the cause can solve the problem before removing the dead branch.

Can you revive a Norfolk Pine?

It depends on the extent of the damage to the Norfolk Pine. Suppose the tree is still alive and has some healthy foliage. In that case, it may be possible to revive it by correcting any environmental or cultural problems it may be experiencing and providing proper care. However, if the tree is severely damaged or dead, restoring it may not be possible.

Do pine trees need a lot of water?

Pine trees have varying water needs depending on climate, soil type, and age. Generally, younger pine trees need more water than mature trees. Pine trees can be drought-tolerant but need consistent moisture, especially during their growing season.

Can pine trees grow indoors?

Some pine trees can grow indoors, but they are typically dwarf varieties that can be grown in containers. Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is a popular indoor pine tree that can be grown in bright, indirect light and kept moist.

Will pine tree needles grow back?

Pine tree needles will grow back if the tree is healthy and properly cared for. However, if the tree is severely stressed or damaged, the needles may not regrow.

When to fertilize pine trees?

The best time to fertilize pine trees is in the spring, just before new growth begins. You can also fertilize in the fall after the tree has stopped growing for the season.

What is the best time to transplant pine trees?

The best time to transplant pine trees is during the dormant season, typically in the fall or winter when the tree is not actively growing. This minimizes stress on the tree and gives it time to establish roots before the growing season begins.

How long do pine trees live?

Pine trees have varying lifespans depending on the species and growing conditions. Some pine trees can live for several hundred years, while others may only live for a few decades.

How long does pine take to dry?

The drying time for pine wood depends on factors such as the thickness of the wood, the moisture content, and the environmental conditions. Pinewood takes around six to twelve months to dry completely.

What kind of soil do pine trees like?

Pine trees prefer well-draining soil that is slightly acidic with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5. They can grow in various soil types, including sandy, loamy, or clay soils, as long as the soil is well-draining.

Are coffee grounds good for pine trees?

Yes. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, essential nutrients for plant growth. Pine trees can benefit from these nutrients, especially if the soil is nutrient-deficient. 

Additionally, coffee grounds can help improve soil structure, increase soil acidity, and enhance soil water retention, promoting healthy pine tree growth. 

However, it’s important to use coffee grounds in moderation and mix them with other organic matter to avoid over-fertilization and potential harm to the tree.

Last Words

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