Is my plant (Japanese black pine) dying?

Hi all

I have this baby Japanese black pine which I am growing from seed. It is about 15months old, and I am a total beginner with bonsais. Can you help me please, its needles are turning yellow. I understand that it is natural for pines to shed needles, what is worrying me though is that the needles that have dried out are the most recent ones, the ones at the tip of the plant. The mid-part of the pine looks ok I think

I attach a few photos. They were taken with 3 days difference from Sat 19 Sep to Tue 22 Sep. Is this normal, do you see anything wrong please? Any help highly appreciated!

Any other suggestions you might have (like repotting, prunning, etc) please feel free.

Many thanks

The lower needles look great which makes me wonder if there is physical damage to the tip caused by an insect that may have eaten the stem. Is there any sign of physical damage near the color change?

I’m not familiar with pathogens that create this pattern, but there’s a chance of that too.

Hi Jonas,

Many thanks for looking into this. I attach another set of 3 pics, (higher res, closer to the plant, taken today). I dont see any damage to the stem.
I dont really know what to do, I am just hoping it will recover. I am also thinking to repot it into a bigger size, maybe it has been overwatered (is the pot is too small anyway??)

Many thanks

In terms of pests or pathogens, either diplodia tip blight or pine tip moth come to mind:

I’m not familiar with battling these, but there are tips for controlling diplodia (unfortunately, these apply to more mature trees) at the above link.

Ah ok…that sounds serious unfortunately, if that is indeed the case… Many thanks for the help, I will read about these diseases and how I can treat the plant.


Giorgo, in what area do you live?
I would suggest spraying with a mixture of abamectin, confidor and Triona.
It is not a good sign that the top of the branch and the bud are drying up. Most likely it is infestation by mites or insects.

Thanks Andrea! I live in London, UK. Is this related to these pesticides and their availability please? I am completely new to this.

I do not know under what names they are sold there.
Look for ιnsecticide, acaricide, paraffinic oil.
add to 1 liter of water 1-2 ml of each and spray the plant.
Repeat after 7 days.

Thanks a lot Andrea! It appears that abamectin and confidor are banned in the UK because they are both nicotine based chemicals. I might be able to get them from the US thought. (they are still available there).

Best regards!