Needle Cast of Evergreens



Affects:

Juniper, pine, spruce, fir and other evergreens.

What is needle cast?

Contrary to popular opinion, evergreens will not retain their needles for the life of the plant.  All evergreens such as junipers, pines, spruces, and firs will lose their oldest needles after a certain number of years.  The number of years varies, depending on the species of plant.  The oldest needles die and drop off in late summer/early fall.  This is called needle cast.  It may be very colorful or may be inconspicuous.

What causes needle cast?

Needle cast is a natural, normal process that occurs every year.  It may be more noticeable or colorful in some years due to environmental conditions and stresses to the plant.

Is it harmful?

No.

What should be done about it?

Nothing.  It is a normal process.  Because heavy needle cast may indicate environmental stresses to the plant it is wise to continue to provide normal basic care strategies such as deep root watering, fertilization, etc. to ensure plant vigor.