Pine Tree - gonna be pushing up daisies?

Our back yard’s mulched area has a nice carpet of pine needles now, which is not unusual. But I took a good look at the tree itself, and it sure seems like there are an awful lot of completely yellow sections on the tree.

This has definitely developed in the last couple of weeks.

Anyone know if this is a healthy tree or not? I always thought the needle-dropping was more distributed all over the tree. And if this one were to fall down, it’d do major damage to the house… which would, obviously, suck.

Forgot to note: we’re in northern VA, and I think the tree is a white pine.

Setting aside more esoteric conditions, it’s possible the tree has an iron deficiency. That is a quite common cause of yellowing, and easily corrected.

Inspect for insect and other pest damage, if you find them, treat accordingly, or lop off the offending limbs.

That doesn’t look good. When you run your hand over the branches (going with the needles), do they come off in your hand? Have you been watering it if it’s dry there? Conifers need water as long as it’s over 5ºC (41ºF) - they don’t go dormant the same way deciduous trees do.

ETA: Acid Lamp’s post reminded me of chlorosis (yellow spots). Do you know if you have alkaline soil?

That’s a white pine - take a close look at the very tip top of the tree. Is it dead or deadening? If so you’ve got the beetles in there [don’t remember the name] just lop it off on a fresh green section. Also, I’d second the watering. Give it a good soaking for a week or two…where are you geographically? You might wish to fertilizethe tree also with nutrient plugs.

Thanks all - I’ll check into the soil etc. The tree is in somewhat of a constricted area (15 feet behind it is the street, 15 in front of it is the house) and it’s gotten pretty big, so crowding could be an issue.

Watering is probably not an issue; it was getting watered quite regularly until perhaps a week ago, as we were trying to establish shrubs the same planting bed. And the yard is pretty soggy anyway.

I saw some other pine trees since posting, that also had distinct yellow areas, so I thought perhaps I was imagining things… but some of the things y’all say make me think I’d better get the experts over. Time to call the county extension office. Sigh. It’d be a pain to have to remove / replace that tree if it’s something non-remediable.

If it is chlorosis, you can acidify your soil to correct it. I agree - it probably is time to talk to experts. We get so excited about the plants in the yard that we forget that the first, most important thing is to get the soil right.

Your pine looks like an Eastern white pine, and some needle drop is normal (heavier in some years than others). If the new year’s growth looks OK and the yellowing needles are toward the inner portions of branches, it’s probably normal needle drop.

“Normal needle drop is associated with the browning of needles toward the inside of the tree. The outermost tips of the branches remain green, and the ones that are yellowing, browning and dropping are randomly located toward the inner branches. If entire branches or the entire tips of branches are dying, then something else is happening.”.

The year after we moved here ('01) there were a lot of yellowing needles in fall on the white pines that surround our back yard and I thought all the trees were sick. They’ve been doing fine.

Incidentally, if a tree looks sick, about the last thing you want to do is fertilize it, especially in fall in your area.

It’s the normal needle drop for the season. I see it’s the very farthest back and thus last year’s needles. Those needles drop at this time of the year.