Pine trees are resilient. As long as they have water and proper soil, they will last a long time and remain green and healthy.
Very little maintenance is needed.
Trees do have specific symptoms that let you know when they are in trouble. If caught early most issues can be treated and the tree will recover.
How to Save a Dying Pine Tree?
If a lot of branches are falling off, the bark is peeling away, and needles are dropping unusually, that pine tree needs immediate care. Whether it has all 3 symptoms or only 1, the simple answer to the question is to cut off all affected limbs. The tree often recovers naturally when this happens.
How to Spot trouble and Keep your Pine Tree Healthy
Pine trees do not need a lot of care, but there are some things you can do to keep them healthy and prevent them from dying before they should.
Cutting off dead branches is one great way to help your tree.
Pine trees will discard a branch now and then normally. When there is a lot of falling branches, it is time to pay attention.
Cutting off some dead branches will invigorate the tree and spur growth.
Avoid cutting limbs flush with the trunk. Cut them at 45-degree angles to spur the growth of new branches.
If your pine tree has a lot of pavers or rocks around it, or if there is a lot of traffic too close to the tree, the ground can become compacted.
When the ground is compacted the tree cannot absorb nutrients, water, and air as well as it needs to.
The answer is to create an area around the tree that will not get compacted. Remove stones as much as possible and re-direct traffic.
You could also drill holes around the tree and fill those holes with organic matter to help the tree.
Also, there are a lot of things that can cause the bark to start peeling off the tree, but this is a sign of trouble. When the bark is gone, it is like a sore on a human and needs attention.
The problem could be caused by insects, or by fungus. There are insecticides and fungicides that will take care of the problem after you remove any loose bark that has not yet fallen.
Lastly, excessive or oozing sap is also an indication of trouble with a pine tree. Some sap is normal., so it is a judgment call sometimes.
Insects, fungus, or other bacteria can cause problems like excessive sap. You may also notice holes in the trunk or on larger branches where the sap is running out.
This could be a woodpecker, but it could also be a fungus or insect.
Dead spots, also called cankers, can also develop on your tree. This is caused by a fungus growing under the bark.
The spots may look like sunken holes, or the bark could look swollen and a different color. Sometimes a white patch develops.
The fungus also makes the tree vulnerable to insects and can hasten the death of the tree.
Cutting away branches is a good way to get rid of any dead spots or cankers, but when it is affecting the trunk you have to take a different approach.
There may be fungicides that will help. The most important thing is to catch this problem and treat it early. Once the issue progresses to a particular stage, it’s almost impossible to save the pine tree.
Pine trees are evergreen, so the leaves do not turn brown until they fall from the tree. Pine needles should fall in late summer.
If this is happening at another time of year, you may need to consult a professional. But if problems develop, keep in mind that needles will not turn green again if a problem on the tree has made them turn brown.
If you are planting pine trees space them properly, so they all have room for their roots to grow. There needs to be soil with good drainage.
They need water, but they also can be harmed if too much water is on the trunk or roots.
Keep weeds down around them, and keep the soil from becoming compacted near the trunk.
Use fertilizer when needed. It is also good to inspect the trees now and then to make sure no problems are developing.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Save a Dying Pine Tree
Where can I get free help with my pine trees?
County extension agents, affiliate with the USDA and or state universities, are there to help people with their plants. The program was started to help farmers with both crops and animals, but the service is available to anyone with plant or animal questions. They do not provide any actual services but are a wealth of information.
Do you treat indoor and outdoor pine trees differently?
They are both pine trees and have the same needs, but how those needs are addressed is different. You have more control of the environment indoors, so it should be relatively easy to keep insects from harming your tree. The outdoor tree has more vulnerability, so may actually need more care. Both are relatively low maintenance.
What is a pine tree’s biggest threat?
Pine bark beetles can kill a tree and have created problems in large areas at times. The beetles get under the bark and eat away at the tree, and eventually, the tree will die. Pine beetles can be hard to prevent or control. There are insecticides that can be used at certain times of year that will repel the beetles if they show up in your area. The earliest signs of beetle damage are white globs, like popcorn, showing up on the bark of the tree. Pine beetles can kill a pine tree in a month or less so using a preventative insecticide is a good idea.
The best way to keep your pine tree from dying is to take preventative action to keep problems from developing. Paying attention to your trees is also valuable.
The sooner you address a problem, the less damage it is likely to cause.
The simple answer to any problem is to prune the tree. It sounds simple but it works.
If simple pruning has not fixed an issue, and you have questions, contact your county agent for suggestions. At times, you will have to hire a tree professional to address issues.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.