Needles drying on black pine


(ffourteen) #1

I’m on my second black pine (location is Shanghai). I bought it about a week and a half ago, the woman I bought it from said it is about 3 years old. I’ve noticed the lower needles have started completely browning and even the and the upper needles have some browning. The first black pine I bought last summer, and started having the same problem at some point during the winter–I tried repotting it early spring as the roots were growing out of the bottom of the pot and it completely browned and died (I think I trimmed too much of the rootball for the strength of the tree?). The woman I bought it from told me to water it less, though I don’t water it that much (waiting until the soil is completely dry, about every 3 days right now–early September). I keep it in indirect sunlight except for mornings, where I have occasionally been putting it in direct light for a bit.
I’ve tried to include two photos, one from day 1,and one from today, not sure if they will upload, but if so, the loss of lower needles should be evident. Any advice?


(Jonas Dupuich) #2

A few things come to mind. The new growth looks good - this is the most important thing. Old needles will naturally brown and drop over time. This process takes longer or shorter depending on the health of the tree.

Two other things - the pot looks small. Using a bigger pot will help the tree stay healthy. Am also curious how much you’re fertilizing. Making sure the tree has enough food will help keep it healthy.

The soil also looks dry. Best for the soil to begin to dry out between waterings. It’s never good for the tree to completely dry out between waterings.


(ffourteen) #3

Thanks for the feedback.
Can I repot now? How important is the season when repotting black pines?
I haven’t fertilized yet; I use Japanese organic fertilizer cakes will stick one on and start watering a little more frequently.


(Jonas Dupuich) #4

Now is the most important time of the year to feed pines so the timing is perfect for that. As for repotting, doing so in late winter/early spring is ideal as the tree is just about to wake from dormancy. Repotting now could be stressful for the tree.


(ffourteen) #5

Duly noted. I’ll keep you updated if the problem continues. Thanks!


(ffourteen) #6

So as the winter has progressed (quite unsteady temperatures this year; relatively warm), the needles have taken on some brownish or even purplish hues. I stopped fertilizing in November, and pulled the old or weak looking needles. The tree then put out 3-4 new candles (which are also purplish-red now) at the ends of all those small lower branches. I’ve been watering once every 3-5 days when it’s not raining, though we have had serious rain this fall/winter (18 days nonstop in November).
I’m not sure if it’s healthy, or if there may be some problem (fungus, over-watered from rain, under-watered, under-fertilized, etc.). I plan to repot in late Feb/early March, and wondering if the tree is healthy enough to survive? Also, should I trim the roots at all when repotting?
Thanks in advance.


(ffourteen) #7


(Jonas Dupuich) #8

Wow, the tree looks pretty thin. Leaving extra needles helps pines stay strong through winter. The brownish/purple color is common when the temperature is cold - the needles are brown/purple in my garden too.

As for water, make sure to only water if the soil is becoming dry. And if it rains for so many days in a row, it’s ok to take the tree out of the rain so it can dry out a bit.

When you repot - ideally into a slightly larger pot - you can untangle the roots but you don’t need to cut much. The more roots you keep the stronger the tree will be.


(Susan) #9

The health of your tree does not look good. With Pines by the time they look sick they are already on a decline which can be hard if impossible for them to recover from. Firstly Pines like sun, and water. However they do not like to have soggy feet all the time. This will cause root rot. I am not sure if your Pine is still alive, if it is I suggest that you repot by slip pot method. You can do this anytime of the year. Do not touch the roots the tree is too weak for this procedure. Just slip pot it into a larger pot with fresh free flowing soil. and allow the tree at least a year to see if its health recovers. Only with a healthy tree should you even think to repot.
Cheers