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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Evergreen Trees and Shrubs > Pine > Needles drop prematurely

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Pine > Needles > Needles drop prematurely

1 of 4
  • Seasonal needle drop 1
  • Seasonal needle drop 2
  • Seasonal needle drop 3

Seasonal needle drop

  • Older, inner needles turn completely yellow without any spots
  • Needles drop, usually in fall
  • Lost needles may be two years old or more, depending on species
  • All pines in Minnesota, but most noticeable on white pine
  • More information on Seasonal needle drop
2 of 4
  • Lophodermium needle cast 1
  • Lophodermium needle cast 2
  • Lophodermium needle cast 3

Lophodermium needle cast
Lophodermium seditiosum

  • Yellow to brown spots appear in late summer or early fall
  • 1 yr old needles turn brown in spring
  • Gray to black ovals with a slit down the center (fungal spore producing structures) can be seen on dead needles
  • Infected needles drop prematurely during the summer
  • Lower branches and small trees most severely effected
  • Common on red, Austrian and Scots pine
  • More information on Lophodermium needle cast
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  • Scleroderris canker 1
  • Scleroderris canker 2
  • Scleroderris canker 3

Scleroderris canker
Gremmeniella abietina

  • Needle clusters turn brown from the base up and are easily pulled off the branch
  • Infected needles fall off in summer
  • Buds on infected twigs fail to open
  • Cutting into branch below discolored needles reveals yellow-green discoloration
  • Cankers can kill branches or move into main stem and become perennial
  • Damage is greatest to small (
  • Jack and red pine most commonly affected
  • More information on Scleroderris canker
4 of 4
  • Pine needle rust 1
  • Pine needle rust 2
  • Pine needle rust 3

Pine needle rust
Coleosporium asterum

  • Yellow to orange spots or bands on needles
  • Late spring to early summer, raised white tubes form on needle spots, these break open and release orange spores
  • Lower branches most severely effected with browning and needle loss
  • Many two and three needle pines are susceptible
  • Also infects nearby members of the aster family
  • Pine needle rust is a minor stress on the tree and no management is required
  • More information on Pine needle rust

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