What is Stressing these trees?

Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9bDecember 22, 2013

It's Suzi again!

We purchased foreclosed property that had been neglected for years. This group of pines seems stressed. They are getting irrigation. Drip system.

What do you think is causing all these dying needles?

What do you think we can do to fix this problem?



Here is a link that might be useful: My Conifer Album just started

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Pines (even California ones), shed older needles in fall (or early winter in warmer climates). The species of pine determines the average age of the needles that are dropped. Typically, you'll see needles retained for 2-4 years and they turn yellow before they fall.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 9:17PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Whew! So it's normal. I feared some kind of disease. There are 3 big trees in that grove, all loaded with cones. The ground below is a fireplace owner's treasure with piles of cones!

Thanks for the reassurance!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 9:38AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

though what was said was correct ....

i dont know how we gain any assurance.. on these pix ...

first we should ID the pine.. resin can usually do that on a cone pic.. with scale ...

then a few .. better lit pix.. will hopefully tell us if its within normal ... or excessive ... like the sun behind the camera ... front lighting them ... since the opposite direction seems all downhill ....

and ambient history of the area would also help .. like years of drought .. etc ...

your COUNTY extension office might also give you some very specific info as to your county ... if there are any endemic diseases or bugs floating around ...

i am not saying i see anything out of the normal ... i just wouldnt commit myself ...

i like that view at the link ...


    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

They're shedding too much - it's probably drought. Unless it started after you put in irrigation or made other significant changes, like adding soil or turf - in which case that is probably the cause of it.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

We have not done a thing. Irrigation was there, and I have no clue how many years it was off. First thing people in Foreclosure do is turn off the water. We got this property cheap, and now we are trying to recover.

I can't gift you a history. Just photos. I don't know what you mean by resin.

I am not a conifer collector. We just have 9 on our property, but if you count those horrible junipers as a conifer, we have gazillions. I wish to rip those out!

We are vineyard and orchard people, but I do thank you for all your advice. I will try to post pics of resin if you tell me what that even is.

TY very much!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 6:10PM
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Hehe Suzi, that's a reference to a member-Pineresin-who is adept at identifying most any species, particularly when provided a pic showing cone and a scale to indicate its size.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 11:51AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Time to give them a little water. As bboy said, they are shedding more than if the had enough water.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Pinus brutia - native to SW Asia, widely planted in the US SW high deserts.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 4:36PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Here is one of the cones from the stressed trees. My husband says their irrigation is working. The other trees are not dropping any leaves. Probably different varieties.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Next step would be to have somebody on site to examine the trees in person, look for clues.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 5:15PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

next step ... call your county extension agent.. and ask what the ambient weather has been for the last two year.. in regard to pines ...

drought is drought.. so what.. it increases shedding... its frankly.. irrelevant .... it does not necessarily mean.. a death march ...

do keep in mind.. lawn watering.. means nothing to extremely old.. mature pines ...

it would not hurt.. to put a sprinkler on LOW!!! ... so that a good drink soaks into the earth ... say a few hours... move it.. a few hours.. etc ...

this has nothing to do with grass watering doing say.. 10 mins per area ... it simply wont get done into the soil.. where the roots are ...

resin ID'd it .... i think.. prior to your cone.. hopefully he cruises back thru to confirm or not ...

mature pines.. call it anything more than 2 foot tall.. not recently transplanted.. do not.. in any sense of the word.. rely on you for water .... think of it this way .... they would have never got that big ... in no sense are these foo foo plants ... they are forest trees ....

some say .. mostly me.. lol.. that a tree is twice as big underground.. as above... the roots .. the important ones.. are not at the trunk of the tree... they could be anywhere in a 30 to 40 foot circle around the trunk ... water.. soak it.. all ... just once.. just to top it off... in case there is drought next year ...

frankly ... who is frank ... there is little you can or should do for these trees... they will.. most likely .. on their own ... recover ...

and one thing for sure.. and i will yell ... FERTILIZING A STRESSED PLANT... IS NOT PROPER ... its not hungry.. its reacting to an exterior stress... which we THINK is water.. so water.. do not feed it ... [your child is dehydrated.. dont force feed it ...]

take none of this.. as meaning you need do much of anything.... on a tree that could live 60 to 100 years. ... a couple years of drought is not that big a deal .... so dont think you have to fix anything much ...

i have maybe 50 various pines.. every 3 to 5 years.. are major shed years.. and never the same ones . ...so what ... [usually the same family will stress .. but nto all pines.. all at once ...]

do not love them to death .... and that is the key ...

resin said.. they are 'high deserts' pines... and in my world.. that means.. they NEVER need water [i am not talking aobut a recent transplant, which has different rules, due to the transplant] ... its just part of its cycle.. so i might even rethink my own thoughts about encouraging you to water ...

good luck with your new property ... most likely ... the pines.. are the least of your worries ....


    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Thanks Ken!

I now realize that Resin is a person. I thought it was sap or something.... Thanks for clearing that up.

I know they get water. Our whole acreage is covered by a drip system, not sprinklers. Each plant gets water, but probably not as wide as the roots are. There are a lot of junipers by these 3 trees, and they are on drip too. Maybe they are sucking water from the pines. BUT, one other pine, a different variety is fine and also surrounded by junipers. So, that theory doesn't make sense. Our other pines have no junipers nearby, and they are all fine.

We do get rain. Some parts of the country are in drought, but not here. It rains, and it rains hard. We just tromped down our usually slippery hill (decomposed granite) to check on our other plants, and the ground is really wet from the rain we had last week.

We don't get rain in the summer though, but the irrigation is on. There are huge boulders here, and some of our pines are growing out of cracks in the boulders. The ground is damp under them, I guess.

I was worried that the trees had some pest, like the pines in Colorado. Whole forests are gone from some pest. Maybe that pest cant sustain itself here because there are so many other trees besides pines. Driving through the mountains in Colorado is truly sad.

The 3 stressed trees are on the upper side of the driveway, and the one pictured is on the lower side. It is a different variety, but all the leaves are green.

Thanks for your input.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 11:43AM
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"resin ID'd it .... i think.. prior to your cone.. hopefully he cruises back thru to confirm or not ... "

Yep, still Pinus brutia.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I just talked with my neighbor and they lived up in the mountains where the pine bark beetle destroyed many trees. She assured me that we don't have that bark beetle because the death starts at the top of the trees and works it's way down. She thinks it's normal shedding.

Now my big job is to find the Riverside County extension office's phone no.

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 5:54PM
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