Why Evergreen Trees Turn Brown In Summer & Solutions

Is your evergreen tree turning brown from the bottom up? Here is why and how to go about stopping the browning process.

Evergreen trees are called so for the simple fact that they remain green all through the year. Some popular tree species belonging to this group include cedar, spruce and pine trees, etc.

These are also known as conifers.

Here, we seek to discuss a condition that leads to the discoloration of evergreen trees. Evergreen trees turning brown in summer are signs of a problem. This isn’t supposed to be so and requires an investigation regarding the causes, identifying them, and fixing such problems.

So, are you noticing your evergreens turning brown when they should not? This will be an interesting read as you’ll find out the possible causes and how to remedy such problems.

Why Evergreen Trees Can Turn Brown In Summer

When browning needles begin to appear, on your evergreens, there’s a chance that one of several issues could be possible. Now, these could range from herbicide damage, drought damage, salt injury, or animal damage.

Other possible reasons for browning include air pollution, nutrient deficiencies, or pruning injury. All of these scenarios are a possibility. To be certain what the problem is, you might want to call for professional help such as those of an arborist for further probing.

1. Herbicide Damage

When there’s an improper application of herbicides close to evergreen trees, problems may result. Herbicides are quite powerful and meant for undesirable herb plants.

For these chemical compositions to be applied safely, you’ll need to carefully read the labels and apply them as far off from your evergreen trees as possible.

Not all herbicides cause damage to evergreen trees. The most notorious of these products include MCPA and 2,4-D.

These herbicides are also known as soil sterilants or growth regulators. When sprayed carelessly, your evergreen trees are likely to be affected.

The resulting impact is seen in the browning of needles in summer. There’s also a possibility of growth distortion and even death.

The rate of application, wind, and also the temperature during application are key factors that may impact negatively on your trees.

  • Slight or Total Discoloration

With herbicide damage comes slight or total discoloration of evergreen trees.

As implied by the terms, slight discoloration will result in browning of some parts or sections of your evergreen trees the opposite applies for total discoloration or browning.

2. Drought Damage

Damage caused by drought could see your evergreen trees turning brown in summer.

In drought situations, soil moisture is almost non-existent and water is severely limited. This creates a serious problem leading to stress for trees.

The changes due to drought damage aren’t immediate. Within a few weeks or months, you’ll notice evergreen trees turning yellowish-green. Complete browning results in the loss of needles.

This condition (drought damage) follows a pattern. Apart from the needles turning yellowish-green, browning starts from the top of the tree downwards. You’ll need to call for expert intervention when any of these changes are noticed.

3. Salt Injury

Is salt injury really a thing that could affect evergreen trees?

It is! This happens on two levels; the presence of excess salt in the soil as well as direct contact with road salt. Salt injury is known to result in death. Apart from those found in the soil, how does salt come in contact with trees?

During winter, salts are applied to defrost or prevent snow accumulation. When this is done, such salt is likely to come in contact with evergreen trees. The impact of this isn’t readily seen and may only become evident in summer. Signs of browning begin to appear.

For this to be prevented, consider planting evergreen trees away from salted roads. By planting these trees further out, salt sprays hardly reach them.

How about saline areas? When salt is found in the soil, it impacts negatively on trees.

Now, this can be difficult to control as there are fewer options to desalinate the area. You might want to speak with an expert on the best possible action to take to salvage your evergreen trees.

4. Animal Damage

Evergreen trees see a whole lot of animal activity. The most common culprits include dogs (who pass urine at its base), dear, rabbits, porcupines, rodents, and birds. These usually scrape off the bark of evergreen trees.

Such sustained action will eventually result in stress to your evergreens. The impact is seen in browning leaves over the summer as well as other seasons. Browning isn’t the first stage of discoloration. Evergreen tree needles first change from their lush-green look to yellowish-green.

This is followed by browning which is the last stage. The best way to address the problem is by calling an expert.

Other control measures may include repelling or getting rid of the animals causing such damage. Popular methods include trapping (humane), use of bird spikes, and scare devices.

Are these measures effective? An affirmative answer cannot be given as efficacy drops with time.

5. Air Pollution

Air pollution is a real problem faced by trees.

Although these are known to purify the air, pollution can be overwhelming. Under such conditions, you may notice evergreen trees turning yellowish-green and eventually brown due to such pollution.

6. Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies may be the cause of evergreen trees turning brown in summer. When these trees are lacking in essential nutrients, the result is seen in their discoloration.

Find out what remedial actions are available for such situations.

7. Pruning injury

If you’ve pruned your evergreen trees not long ago and notice browning of its pins, it may only be trying to heal. In such situations, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

However, there are better ways to prune coniferous trees that won’t result in such injuries.

An expert will help out with that.

Is There A Remedy For Evergreen Tree Browning?

Here is how to stop evergreens from turning brown.

Whenever browning happens to your evergreen trees in summer, it’s not a cause to panic. Rather, it’s best to observe what happens afterward.

When the brown needles are shed, new ones sprout back to replace the old ones.

The ability of the tree to replace its shed and discolored leaves should be enough. No action is necessary for the first instance until new growth appears. However, in cases where the tree fails to sprout back new needles, it could be a sign that the problem is much worse.

In this case, the tree may be dead or diseased.

Seeing your evergreen trees turning brown or having brown spots in summer may be due to any or a combination of the above causes. It’s best to seek professional help when this is noticed.

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