Some plant problems are not really problems at all. There are times during the year when it is perfectly normal for trees to shed needles, for instance.


Some plant problems are not really problems at all. There are times during the year when it is perfectly normal for trees to shed needles, for instance.
Pine, spruce, and various needled evergreens naturally drop needles during the fall. This is a process where interior needles turn yellow, then brown and eventually drop off. There are no spots or discolored bands on the affected needles. Those who aren’t familiar with this process are often concerned about the health of the tree.
This is a natural phenomenon that occurs every year and does not hurt the tree.
Because this only affects older, interior needles, the tips of the branches look fine. Check to see that only the older needles are affected — the needles on the tips of the branches should look fine — and that there is no spotting or banding on the needles that are turning yellow.
Natural needle drop is more noticeable during some years (such as this one in certain areas) than others.
In some years, additional stresses such as saturated soil or heat and drought make needle drop seem worse.

Scott Eckert is Harvey County Extension agent, horticulture.