Japanese white pine needles browning and dropping

Hello all,

In one of my Japanese white pines, many of the needles even those that are green are dropping at the slightest touch, and then there are needles in some branches that are all browning but not dropping as easily. Unsure if they are two different issues.
I am located in San Francisco East Bay Area, Livermore, and we had some really hot days this summer, and I had kept this tree in shade, misted it often. Unsure if it inadvertently got over watered.
It was a beautiful tree, but now is suffering.
Please help saving it.


I don’t worry about the dead branches as it’s common for white pine to drop weak branches. Overall the color is OK.

That said, the tree isn’t particularly vigorous and the buds pictured look small. The first things that come to mind are: how frequently was the tree watered (letting the soil get about 70% dry between waterings is a good starting point); what condition is the soil in (old soil can contribute to branch dieback); and how much was the tree fertilized (if the soil and watering are good but the tree receives few nutrients that too can inhibit growth).

Hi Jonas, thanks for the reply. I did water it every day during the hot summer days. I have been mostly fertilizing with Organics, perhaps not as much as I should have.

Got the tree last year during the Mammoth Sale. The soil does look compacted. Would you recommend a re-pot, perhaps replace part of the soil with fresh soil?

Thanks again!

I’d do a normal repot in January in which you replace up to 50% of the old soil with new soil.

Watering daily might be too much for white pine, but I’m also curious is the water was effectively soaking into the soil (it’s hard to tell what happens when watering when the soil is compacted without checking it before and after watering).

I have as of now cut back on watering, and waiting to repot. I do not see water pooling on top of the pot, seems to percolate down fairly quickly. But likely the soil is retaining too much water.

It’s fine if the soil is retaining too much water for now - the main thing will be to wait until the soil starts to dry out before watering again.

Try poking chopstick size holes into the rootball to allow water and fertiliser to get in👍
Cheers Rod

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