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Have you ever noticed that pine trees shed their needles from time to time? Why is that? Pine trees are evergreen after all and evergreens keep their leaves through all the seasons of the year. So, if it is not a seasonal thing then what is it? Is your pine tree sick? Is your pine tree dying?

There can be many different reasons for why a pine tree is shedding its needles:

(So, while it is a possibility that a tree might actually be sick and/or dying, in most cases – pine trees shedding their needles is just a natural part of their life that does not negatively affect the health of the tree in any way whatsoever.)

Reason 1: It is a natural phenomenon

Even though pine trees are evergreen plants, they still shed their needles once every few years. 

The rate at which a pine tree sheds its needles depends upon what species it belongs to. And, there are many different species of pine trees and they all have different rates at which they will shed their needles. Some species, for example, shed their needles once every 2 years while others take longer and do it once every 5 to 6 years. But, no matter how long a pine tree takes to shed its needles, every pine tree does it eventually when the time comes.

The reason why pine trees shed their (old) needles is that pine trees grow new needles every few years. And, these new needles need space to grow. So, what the new needles do is that when they grow out – they push the old needles off the tree onto the ground to make room for themselves.

This is all a part of the pine tree’s natural life cycle. If a pine tree did not do so, then it would not be able to grow new needles at all.

Reason 2: The tree is dehydrated

While, in most cases, pine trees shedding their needles is just a natural phenomenon, in other cases – things might be different.

For example, one reason why a pine tree might be shedding its needles could be because the tree is severely dehydrated. As a tree starts to become dehydrated, its needles start turning brown. When dehydration becomes worse, the tree starts to shed these brown needles as they die and fall off.

Pine trees do this in order to conserve water – fewer needles means less water.

Reason 3: The tree is infected with fungus

Another reason why a pine tree might be shedding its needles could be due to the fungal infection.

One example of a pine tree fungal infection would be Dothistroma septosporum (or Mycosphaerella pini) – which is a fungus that causes the disease commonly known as red band needle blight in which the needles form a red band around them.

Of course, there are many other types of fungal infections, which cause needle blight in pine trees as well. A simple way to look for signs of needle blight in pine trees is to just look for any general discoloration in the foliage of the tree.