Pine issue - needle shedding in spring

Hello everyone,

seeking some advice on a pine issue. Contrary to my prior post on pine being allergic to fertilizer it turns out the tree seems to respond in this way to spring/rising temperatures/growth. This is now the third year that it comes out of winter in seemingly good health and then starts to develop yellow needles (mainly beginning from the top) which then turn brown and fall off. The past two years the tree then pushed new needles. This only started after the tree was imported from Japan.
If anyone has any idea/tips that would be great.


So last year’s growth dies and then current year’s candle grows out? It’s the top, what about the north side? Could it be winter damage? Where are you located and what are low temps?

Yes, all growth from last year turns brown and then the candles (which are very undeveloped currently on most parts of the tree) open. It is visible everywhere but mainly develops from the top downwards with the top loosing all it’s needles first.

The tree is rotated/in different locations, but looks the same from all sides.

The tree is in northern Europe now and we had varying winters the last years, this being the mildest one with only very few nights at -5 centigrade. All other trees stored with this one are fine, so i think it is unlikely to be winter damage only to this one.

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So this is a white pine based your previous fertilizer thread? Maybe some more pics including closeups of needles would help diagnose the issue. Also a recap of recent history. You mentioned you repotted in the fall. How did the roots look? Lots of white fleshy tips. Has this tree died back every spring since you’ve had it?

Do you have any other white pines that do not have this issue? Overwintering and root health over winter and into spring still seems like possible cause. But it could also possibly be fungal or maybe even insect. Have you checked for mites? Although, if it had mites I would expect them to attack the new year’s growth also.

Also this doesn’t necessarily sound like pine wilt nematode since the dieback occurs with it in the summer. But if you have any branches dead to prune, you can look for the characteristic blueish color stain on the interior.

Hello Jayhawk,

yes, the same tree. As i was not using any fertilizer this year it was apparent that if at all the fertilizer catalyzed what was anyway happening.

  • the needle shedding is happening ever since it came to Europe 4 ears ago
  • the re potting was pre mirai so, it had roots, i removed soil with a chopstick and chopsticked the new soil in but none of this with a clear plan of action or attention to certain aspects.
  • all other pines are fine (though this is the only one of that species)


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so, as per Ryans forum q&a assessment.
fungal issue the tree is susceptible to due to root issue (could also explain why this year it is not as severe as before as some of that might have been addressed by the re-potting.)
tilting up of container to improve balance of w-o
reduced watering