Winter Burn on Eastern White Pine

Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine)

Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine)

Hurricane Sandy caused damage to many evergreen trees here on Long Island and along the eastern coastline. The Eastern White Pines seemed to be most affected by the high winds and salt spray off the ocean and are showing signs of decline now in the month of December.High winds cause excessive transpiration (water loss) from needles of the pine causing them to turn reddish-brown, giving the tree a dead appearance.

There could be hope for the tree before it is taken as a lost cause.  Search for evidence of green viable buds.  If you see any green within the needles (see below) then the tree has a chance of bouncing back in the spring providing the winter isn’t too harsh. As water gets to the roots and needles of the tree there is a good chance that new growth will start to emerge.   Deep root feeding your damaged pines in late March (early spring) can also help to promote new growth.

pine damage

Winter Burn on White Pine

Pines naturally shed their older needles once a year usually in Fall or Spring and go through a major shed every three years.

For your damaged pine it could take up to three years for the tree to fully recover as it drops old needles and replaces with new but the tree could eventually make a full recovery.

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2012, All Rights Reserved

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6 thoughts on “Winter Burn on Eastern White Pine

  1. You are welcome. The reason I wrote this post is because my pines are as brown as can be but are showing some signs of green buds. I know many are wondering if their trees are dead or have a chance of making a recovery and after confirming the condition of mine with my arborist I figured I would relay the info.

  2. I live on Narragansett Bay, RI. The white pines in our yard are completely brown, yet the branches are pliable and when they are cut still ooze sap. I’ve placed chicken manure and straw at the base of the trees hoping that the nitrogen will help – nurturing the roots and keeping the moisture in the soil.

    I’ve never seen damage like it but I won’t give up hope until we’ve passed a year’s anniversary of both Sandy and Nemo (the blizzard of 2013).


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