Rusty tips of Austrian pine trees

I have a 4 year old Austrian pine in my front yard that has developed rusty tips on many of its needles (about half way down the needle). We have alkaline clay soil but mixed peat moss into it when we planted the tree. We put evergreen tree spikes by the tree for fertilizer several times a year. The tree is surrounded by shredded bark mulch that is added to each year. Is this a serious problem? What can I do to get back the beautiful green needles? Marilyn
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks for writing. If you live in a northern climate, it sounds like your tree may have gotten some winter damage. An especially dry fall and/or winter can cause this because the tree doesn't have the moisture reserves to keep its rich green color all winter.

Is your tree planted near a street? If it is and the rusty color is mostly on the street-side of the tree, it could also be salt damage. It's very common for evergreens near a street to show this kind of damage after a snowy winter because snowplows splash the snow (and salt) from the roads up as they pass.

In either case, the best thing to do is make sure your trees stay well watered. While the brown parts won't turn green again, the trees will put on new growth to help mask the brown areas.

Thanks for writing. I hope this helps!

---Justin, Senior Garden Editor,

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