How do you know when a pine tree is dead

Is My Pine Tree Sick or Dying?

Signs Your Pine Tree Isn’t Feeling Well 

If your tree is sick or dying it will give you several clear signs. The problem is, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, they’re easy to miss. If you notice any of these things happening to your tree, you need to take action right away. 

1. Discolored Needles 

This is one of the most noticeable signs that something is wrong with your tree. The pines will start to turn brown. This may happen in sections, such as the bottom half, middle, or top half of your tree. 

But you’ll need to take a closer look than that. 

Examine a few pine needles from different parts of the tree and check for any brown spots. Do you see any brown stripes or brown clumps in the center? That might mean your tree has a disease. 

2. Needles Dropping Early 

There’s no need to be worried about the pine needles falling off with the season. (While many pine trees keep their needs all year long, trees that are two to three years old will change color and drop their needles near the beginning of fall. ) The problem starts if your tree is dropping its needles early or often. 

3. Spots on the Pinecones 

If there are small black spots on your pinecones, your tree has a fungal disease. This disease can also turn the needles brown, so it’s a good idea to check your pinecones as soon as you notice any discoloration on the needles. 

4. Pealing Bark 

Is there a small section of peeling bark on your pine tree? That might not be a problem. Sometimes animals, such as woodpeckers, can cause this to happen in small sections of your tree. 

However, if you see a lot of bark peeling off your tree in large spots, that’s a sure sign something is wrong. 

5. Broken Spots or Weak Spots 

Pine trees should be able to hold the weight of their branches without a problem. While it’s not uncommon for a tree to drop a branch every once in a while, especially during a storm, it shouldn’t be losing branches often. 

Some types of fungal diseases can weaken the integrity of your tree. This can cause the branches to crack, hang at odd angles, and even fall off, which can become a safety hazard. 

6. Holes or Sawdust on the Branches 

To bugs and other pests, your beautiful pine tree is an attractive dinner. Bark beetles, for example, will burrow into your tree and make their home inside the wood, breading and eating there. 

If you have any of these pests in your tree, you’ll see small holes on the branches or trunk, and you might even see little specs of sawdust on or around the plant. 

In most cases, these pests won’t attack a healthy tree. As long as you take good care of your pine tree, you shouldn’t have to worry about this problem. 

7. Leaking Sap 

Seeing some sap on your tree is normal. What’s not normal, though, is finding thick “waterfalls” all over your tree. Depending on the disease afflicting your tree, the sap might even turn white—a bad sign. 

8. Large Cankers 

Some diseases will cause large cankers to form over your tree. These can cause all kinds of problems, such as weakening the tree or attracting pests, so you’ll want to address them as quickly as possible. 

Putting a Stop to Pine Tree Diseases: A Few Tricks to Try

Saving a sick tree can be a difficult, and sometimes impossible, task, but there are a few tricks that can help you pull it off. If you aren’t sure what to try, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an expert first. 

Act Fast! 

First thing first: if there’s something wrong with your tree, you need to take care of it as fast as you can. If the disease or pest problem progresses too far, there might be nothing you can do to save it. 

Give It More Water 

If you’re lucky, the solution to your problem might simply be to give your tree more water. During the summer or other dry spells, your tree might have trouble staying hydrated, which causes the needles to turn brown. Watering the roots should turn those needles green again. 

Treat It With Fungicide or Pesticide 

If the disease or pest problem hasn’t progressed too far, you might be able to treat your tree with fungicide or pesticide. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before you apply anything, though. Otherwise, you might accidentally do more harm than good. 

Prune Infected Areas 

In some cases, you might be able to cut off the infected branches and prevent the disease from spreading any further. But this doesn’t always work. 

It’s a good idea to prune your tree often to remove any dead or dying branches. This will help keep the diseases and pests away from the start. 

Have an Expert Take a Look 

Call an expert to come and examine your tree. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment plan. Even if you think you know what’s wrong, it’s still a good idea to get a professional opinion to ensure you aren’t missing something. 

How to Find the Right Help for Your Tree 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to cure many of these pine tree diseases. If the affliction has spread too far, the only option might be to remove the tree in order to keep the disease or pests from spreading. To avoid injury and other safety concerns, you should find an Arizona professional to take care of this step. 

Not sure where to find the right help?

From treating your tree to cutting it down, Jose can give you the best tree service in the Mesa area. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today! 


How To Save A Dying Pine Tree? — Forest Wildlife

Realizing that one of your beloved pine trees is struggling can be disheartening. Many times, although we appreciate their beauty and presence on our property, we can forget that trees need regular inspections and maintenance.

In this article, we’ll talk about some common pine tree problems and how to treat them, if possible. 

What You'll Learn Today

  • How Do You Know if a Pine Tree is Dying?
    • Dead Branches
    • Falling Needles
    • Peeling Bark
    • Excessive Leaking Sap
    • Leaning
  • How Do You Bring Back a Dying Pine Tree?
    • Bark Beetle Pests
    • Needle Blight
    • Pine Wilt
    • Pitch Canker Disease
    • Needle Rust
    • Root Rot
  • How Do You Keep Pine Trees From Dying?

How Do You Know if a Pine Tree is Dying?

There are many different ways that pine trees will show you that they’re not doing well. It can be challenging to tell how serious the problem is, however, since seeing one of these issues occasionally or to a small degree doesn’t always indicate a problem.

It’s a good idea to take a full overview of your tree when you notice a potential symptom of illness, note the severity, and check to see if it’s exhibiting multiple symptoms. Here are some of the ways to tell if your tree is unwell:

Dead Branches

The easiest way to tell if your pine tree is sick or dying is by looking at its branches. Often, the first symptoms of tree problems show up on the leaves or branches.

If you notice that the branches of your tree are bare, browning, or wilting, there’s a good chance that your tree is not happy. 

Falling Needles

Although pine trees are evergreen, meaning that they retain their leaves throughout the year, it’s still normal for them to lose their needles to some degree.

Pine trees shed a fair amount of old needles generally in early fall, retaining only the newest growth. But if you notice that your tree is losing all of its needles, or way more than usual, be on the alert for other signs of illness.

Peeling Bark

Healthy pine trees have strong bark that stays attached to their trunk. If you notice bare spots on the trunk or bark that peels off easily, this is an indicator of an unhealthy pine. 

It’s important to note that small sections of bark missing from the tree unaccompanied by other symptoms can be normal. Animals like woodpeckers can cause some bark loss in pine trees.

Excessive Leaking Sap

It’s pretty standard to see a small amount of sticky sap on the trunk or branches of your pine tree. If you notice that there are large amounts of sap running down the tree, however, this could be a sign of something more serious. 

Check to see how much sap is covering the tree, and the color of the substance. If the sap is also an unusual color, like white, there’s a good chance that your tree is showing signs of disease.  


A healthy pine tree has a strong trunk that allows it to stand up straight and tall. If you notice that the trunk is leaning in any spots, or it’s dropping branches frequently, it’s important to act fast. 

There are many diseases that can cause structural issues with your tree, and make it more susceptible to wind damage. This can be extremely dangerous, depending on where the tree is located on your property. 

If you notice trunk weakness or excessive branch dropping, call a tree service professional to diagnose the issue and remove the sick tree as soon as possible. 

How Do You Bring Back a Dying Pine Tree?

Whether a pine tree can be revived depends on the specific issue, and how soon you’re able to address the problem. Trees with irreversible damage, sadly, cannot always be saved. 

Here are some common pine tree illnesses, and how to treat them: 

Bark Beetle Pests

  • Symptoms: Bark beetles damage pine trees by burrowing into the inner bark of the wood. Signs of an infestation include small white or reddish-brown spots on the bark, holes in the bark, and needles changing color. 
  • Treatment: Once a tree is infested, chemical treatments likely won’t help, and could risk killing other beneficial insects. The best solution is usually to cut down the affected tree and dispose of it responsibly to prevent the beetles from spreading to nearby trees. 

Needle Blight

  • Symptoms: Needle blight is caused by a fungus and causes the pine needles to fall off of the tree. You will notice the needles develop green bands, which then turn reddish-brown, then yellow, and subsequently fall off. 
  • Treatment: Fortunately, this disease can typically be kept at bay by regular copper fungicide treatments at least once per year. 

Pine Wilt

  • Symptoms: Pine trees with wilt disease gradually wilt and turn brown as a result of a deadly pinewood nematode – a microscopic worm.  
  • Treatment: Unfortunately, there is no cure for pine wilt disease. But you can, however, stop the disease from spreading by cutting down infected trees as soon as you diagnose the issue. 

Here’s a great video on how to prevent this deadly illness in pines.

Pitch Canker Disease

  • Symptoms: Another fungal disease, pitch canker illness causes the tips of pine branches to wilt, change color, and the needles to fall off. It’s also characterized by oozing branches and wounds in the trunk. 
  • Treatment: Pitch canker disease cannot be treated, but many pine trees are able to recover on their own within a few years. 

Needle Rust

  • Symptoms: Pine tree needles with rust develop small pustules, which rupture and spread spores to other trees. 
  • Treatment: Luckily, pine trees sustain little damage from the disease and treatment is not necessary.

Root Rot

  • Symptoms: The first noticeable symptom of root rot in pine trees is usually stunted growth. Eventually, the tree will decline in appearance, turn yellow, then wilt and die. 

The brown, dead needles will remain on the tree, and you may notice a resin oozing from a canker around the soil level. The wood around the area turns a darker brown, and then black.

  • Treatment: Root rot usually happens when pine trees are grown in unsuitable locations. The only solution for this is to remove the infected tree, and do not replant any others on that site.  

How Do You Keep Pine Trees From Dying?

The best way to keep a pine tree from dying is to provide regular care and maintenance to your tree. When disease or pest damage occurs, it’s usually exacerbated when the tree is already weakened from improper growing conditions. 

When growing a pine tree on your property, remember the following: 

  • Choose the best location: before you plant your tree, make sure you have the correct amount of space for your pine, and place it in an area where the soil is well-draining and receives full sun.  
  • Amend the soil: To help your soil drain better and avoid diseases like root rot, work mulch into the top 12 inches of the soil around the pine tree. 
  • Prune regularly: Remove any dead or dying branches as soon as you notice them. This is your best chance of catching any potential disease quickly before it spreads. 
  • Inspect the tree routinely: Often, full-fledged infestations are difficult, if not impossible to treat. You can maximize your chance of success if you’re always checking for early signs of pests, like small areas of browning needles and dying branches. If you see a suspicious pest or damage to your tree, you may be able to take a sample to your local extension office for diagnosis and possible treatment recommendations. 

It’s important to note that many symptoms of pine tree illnesses can overlap, and therefore can be tricky to diagnose. And the treatment for each disease can vary significantly and also depend on environmental factors. The best way to get a reliable diagnosis for your sick pine tree is to contact a tree service professional as soon as you notice the problem. 

Pine is dying? How to understand by needles whether a tree is healthy | Garden | Dacha

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


AIF at Dacha No. 19. Autumn prevention in the garden 12/10/2016

Natalia Dudareva, landscape gardening engineer :

– In autumn (and sometimes in May) any pines turn yellow – ordinary, mountain, black, cedar and others. It is easy to understand whether a tree is dying or, despite its yellowness, it feels great.

The expression: "Conifers - evergreens" is just a figure of speech. In fact, they periodically change their needles - and this is an absolutely normal process. Only, unlike deciduous ones, they do this not annually, but about once every 2–4 years. This means that a needle "born" this year will remain green from 1 to 4 years. If the tree is well, it will change its needles less often, and if it has just been transplanted or has experienced other stress, more often.

Coming from the top

Looking at a pine branch from the top to the bottom, it is very easy to see how it has grown. You can calculate how old she is in places where the side branches depart from the main branch - the so-called whorls. From the top to the nearest whorl - the growth of this year, then - the past, the year before last, and so on. And literally everything depends on where the yellowness appears!

On healthy pine branches, the youngest needles (i.e. on the growth of the current year) are always green. In addition, a bud (or several buds) should be laid at the tip of each shoot. Outside, they are covered with gray-brown scales and resin, and inside, if they are broken, they are green and fresh. The larger and fatter the buds, the better the tree feels.

If everything is exactly like this for your pine, great. On the contrary, if the needles turn yellow precisely at the ends of the shoots, and the buds dry up, this is a very bad sign: either a separate branch or the whole tree dies.

Pine needles on growths of the previous (second) year, as a rule, should also be green. But if it begins to die off, this is simply a sign that the tree is weakened for some reason and is shedding “ballast” that the roots are unable to feed. Next year, it is desirable to water such a pine on time and properly, and in the spring to feed it with complex fertilizer for conifers. But she's not going to die, don't worry!

If the needles of the year before last turn yellow, this is completely normal. But if it suddenly remains green, your pine feels just fine and thus thanks you for the good care.

What about pests and diseases?

And the last. Take a look at the needles themselves. Suspicious objects such as white cotton flakes, cobwebs, black soot, or rust spots may indicate the presence of pests or common conifer diseases. They are moderately dangerous and can be controlled with systemic insecticides and fungicides. But with one exception.

Carefully inspect the trunks and thick branches of pines, especially near the whorls. Are there holes on them, is there under these holes the so-called drilling flour - brown smallest chips, does the bark fall off? If there is, the tree is most likely doomed to die, even though its shoots are alive and well. After all, these signs indicate the presence of, perhaps, the most dangerous pest of conifers - the bark beetle. Such a spruce or pine tree must be immediately cut down and the bark must be removed from the log so that it does not become a breeding ground for new hordes of beetles.

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Pine turns yellow: causes and what to do


  • Question about planting a pine tree
  • From the experience of gardeners
  • New chores
  • Pine leaf fall. What is the reason?
  • Schutte's disease

Today it is fashionable to plant coniferous trees in the summer cottage. Some owners are trying to grow a real conifer or alley from evergreens, while others believe that it is better to plant one pine, but next to the house, in order to arrange a noisy round dance around the tree on New Year's Eve. Sorrows come when the beautiful pine tree suddenly begins to lose its attractiveness. Why do pine needles turn yellow? Is the tree sick and dying? What to do? How to save a pine tree? The answer to the question must be sought from the very beginning, from the moment the tree was acquired.

Question about planting a pine tree

Having decided to change the landscape of the site with evergreen trees, the owner should remember some points:

  • when buying a tree, you need to look at the intensity of the color of the needles: choose a seedling with a bright fresh green crown;
  • give preference to specimens with a branched root system, moreover, the roots must be "live". An experienced seller, in an effort to preserve a pine seedling, usually wraps the roots with a damp cloth and fine mesh.
  • with special care you need to choose a place for the future evergreen favorite: it must be open. Trees should not be planted next to each other. Spreading pine tree: crown girth reaches from 3 to 5 meters.
  • Do not interfere with the following agricultural regulations:
  • if the soil in the area is heavy, chernozem, then a loose composition should be prepared with the addition of sand;
  • the root collar must not protrude above the ground; it must be excessively deepened and covered with soil;
  • after transplanting, the top layer of soil must be mulched to prevent the soil from drying out and slow down the growth of weeds.

From the experience of gardeners

Experienced gardeners, having planted a forest beauty, notice the slightest changes in its condition, and advise immediately start fighting for the tree. At the height of summer, the tips of the needles acquire a brownish tint. This is a signal: the tree is sick, it is dying, but attempts can still be made to save it.

A young seedling suffers from a lack of moisture, and therefore the first measure will be regulated watering:

  • seedlings should be watered infrequently, but plentifully;
  • any plant is best watered in the early morning;
  • With the onset of the first autumn frosts, the pine should be watered abundantly: moist soil will help it survive the cold winter. And only as the root system grows, the pine becomes drought-resistant.

The mountain specimen should be periodically sprayed with a growth stimulant.

All measures are taken, but the pine planted on the plot turns yellow. What is the reason? Scientists have determined that, pine or spruce needles can live up to five years, then it falls off. Those who have been in a real coniferous forest remember that the earth in it is covered with a dried carpet of pine needles. So in the fall, a yellowed specimen should not cause much concern: this is a common natural phenomenon. The needles on the lower branches of the tree turn yellow, moreover, the tips of the branches and the upper branches still amaze with bright greenery. So that the tree does not lose its decorative effect, experts advise cutting off the lower dry branches. You need to work carefully so as not to damage the pine trunk.

New chores

The pine turned yellow in the area:

  • Even on young branches the needles turned orange with a reddish tint, moreover, the branches are covered with yellowness from the very top, in general, almost half of the crown has turned brown.
  • A diseased tree "weeps": it releases resin.

Anxious feeling arises in the gardener, who noticed that the tree, in spite of all measures, is drying up. It may die. What to do? First you need to understand what is happening with the tree. Looking closely at the pine trunk, you can see small holes in which pests hide - bark beetles and beetles. They make moves, moving inside the branches, and wear down the wood fibers to such an extent that they turn them into "flour", but only brown. Noticing bark beetles in time, the pine tree can be saved by applying insecticides. If a significant outbreak is found on a tree, then a professional forester should be invited to fight pests with drugs that cannot be found in free trade.

Pine leaf fall. What is the reason?

Being alone with a pine disease is a little scary, so the owners post letters of doubt on social networks. The most common question is: “What reasons can be hidden in the wilting of pine trees? What to do if the pine turned yellow? Specialists who grow pine trees for more than one move respond to these letters and give two good reasons:

  1. Usually a tree is planted with a clod of earth. While the sun warms the pine branches, its roots are dormant and do not absorb moisture, and therefore the tree suffers. Speaking in the language of specialists, then the evaporation of moisture by the crown exceeds the intake. It should be noted that the specimen also suffers from a lack of nutrients.
  2. The second reason is related to the presence of microflora in the pine tree - fungi, which can interfere with the growth process.

Schutte's disease

It is not difficult to plant a coniferous tree, it is much more difficult to learn to understand coniferous diseases, but the symptoms of Schutte's rust are easy to remember:

  • if the needles fall off when touching the branch, these are the first symptoms of the disease;
  • brown spots appeared on the trunk - the disease is progressing. This is also indicated by the changed appearance of the tree.
  • Fallen needles contribute to the spread of the disease, by the way, even a few affected needles can contribute to the development of the disease, therefore, preventive measures are needed in autumn and spring. In winter, an experienced owner scatters peat chips or ash right across the snow, as the fungus lives and multiplies even under snow cover.

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