Pine shedding needles.

maroun.c

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Is it normal for pines to shed needles beginning of winter. Weather just started getting a bit cold and we had a few days if rain and wind. I see lots of brown needles that detach on touch. Anything I should worry about or do?
It's mostly the older needles but few branches have completely brown needles.
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Thanks
 
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Needles must be nice and green. Some 3 year old needles will fall. A lot of needles on this tree look dull and will get brown and will fall off. Where they fall, the branch is dead. Look at the buds at the end. Some are big and have a nice colour. Others haven't formed. You see the results of the conditions of the last 6 months. Heat stress is most likely. To wet is a likely suspect too (i hope this is not potting soil i see??). How long do you have this tree?
 

maroun.c

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It's a pinus nigrus which I believe is a black pine ?
Acquired it 4 months back and was told it wasn't at its best as needles looked short and wasn't very green...
Yes it's in potting soil. Was waiting till spring to do a partial soil change. It did produce few longer needles most likely due to the better fertilizer it got since I got it but now looks to be struggling. Any advice on what tthe do? Will decrease watering as it was mentioned.
Thanks
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Pinus nigra is the European, sometimes called Austrian black pine, it is a single flush of growth pine, techniques used for it are more or less the same as techniques for Scotts or Scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris. Do not decandle like you would a Japanese black pine.

Some needles falling in autumn is normal, especially 3 year old and older needles. Your tree does not look healthy, you have a problem. I suspect the previous posters are right, soil is too wet, or alternated between too wet and too dry.

Since your winters are mild, if you can keep the tree from frost, you might be able to get away with repotting now, if you have a good media on hand, like pumice and akadama. But if your new media is not much better than what the tree is already potted in, wait until spring, be careful with watering, don't just automatically water the tree every day. Don't let it get too dry, and don't let it stay wet and saturated.

If you do repot, it is important to keep it above freezing. Ideally between 0 C and 4 C (or 32 F and 40 F ) for the winter. If the tree will be exposed to freezing temperatures, then do not repot until spring.
 

maroun.c

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It rarely gets below 5 here but can still happen so will wait for the repot.
Doubt it's related to to heat as a cedar next to it is doing great.
I've had issues with root rot on olives before so might be the same cause here as mentioned.
Will place under cover when it's rainy and decreas watering.
 
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Pines can tolerate heat, but this cultivar loves cold more than warmth. When the tree was acquired 4 months ago and in poor health, i hope you did pay relatively little. I would advise a more draining medium but look around for other experienced bonsai-dudes in you area, ask what they use.
 

Tieball

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I don't have a pine like you have at all. However, my Austrian Pines, Jack Pines and White Pines (trees in the ground growing naturally) all shed the previous years needles on branches. Only the current years needles are left on the tree. The needles turn brown and fall off. I have needles. Everywhere. It happens every late autumn before winter sets in. After winter the buds, candles, extend creating a new current year of needles.....and the cycle continues. Just adding what my pines do naturally. However...please keep in mind that I have a severe winter....very cold...and a lot of snow. I don't know if my tree experience translates to your climate....But I thought I'd mention it.

I looked at your photos and the needle drop looks rather natural to me. But I wouldn't say that I am a pine expert. I just have about 500 pines growing around me....and am commenting from observation. Are the buds green, lush and moist below the brown bud edges?
 

maroun.c

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Pines can tolerate heat, but this cultivar loves cold more than warmth. When the tree was acquired 4 months ago and in poor health, i hope you did pay relatively little. I would advise a more draining medium but look around for other experienced bonsai-dudes in you area, ask what they use.
Lets say it was a learning mistake and I didn't pay cheap at all. was flamed for it on both aspects:
-Tree isn't as great as I thought with trunk roots not looking perfect.
-bad soil
-and a suboptimal shaping.
putting that conversation behind as I just took that as a learning mistake... the previous owner seems to have his own experience in growing thousands of bonsais in same medium for 30 yrs plus. His methods are somehow personal and his shaping style does not apply to most international standards but that is out of the scope of this discussion so lets avoid that discussion as I learned from my mistake an will only source maybe starter trees from him (lack of good trees source in the country especially for pine, Juniper, mapple...)
All nurseries and very few Bonsai hobbyists in the country and even nearby countries all using peat, coco peat and regular soil mixes was crazy difficult to source Pumice which I finally did and still on the look for Akadama. Had many posts here on the topic and trying my best to find the right media even if I have to find it while on travel and fly back with. once I find that IW ill source out the info on how slow to switch mediums especially for pines and Cedars as they don't like barerooting as far as I got.
That said apparently the good hobbyists here have mastered watering techniques for this soil or maybe it matches the environment. In my location dosen't work well because of higher humidity and limited sun in current position of my trees, will be moving all next summer to front garden (in construction) which will allow for better sun exposure.
Thanks.
Maroun
 

maroun.c

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I don't have a pine like you have at all. However, my Austrian Pines, Jack Pines and White Pines (trees in the ground growing naturally) all shed the previous years needles on branches. Only the current years needles are left on the tree. The needles turn brown and fall off. I have needles. Everywhere. It happens every late autumn before winter sets in. After winter the buds, candles, extend creating a new current year of needles.....and the cycle continues. Just adding what my pines do naturally. However...please keep in mind that I have a severe winter....very cold...and a lot of snow. I don't know if my tree experience translates to your climate....But I thought I'd mention it.

I looked at your photos and the needle drop looks rather natural to me. But I wouldn't say that I am a pine expert. I just have about 500 pines growing around me....and am commenting from observation. Are the buds green, lush and moist below the brown bud edges?
We have rather a mild witner in comparison to what you mention. WE're in dec and expect to have snow on higher mountains (1000 meters high Plus) just before christmas I live around 250 meters high and right now temp has dropped to around 15 degress celsius so I guess that compares to your Autumn? I live in the middle of a pine forest and have 3 pines in the garden and they've been shedding a lot in the last weeks as well. however I'm not sure if it should be the same to this European pine I have as Bonsai. Pines we have I'm told have longer needles and don't take well to bonsai but I will try to find a couple of small trees to pull out and try to turn into good bonsai.
14814489159641956463148.jpg

This Bonsai has been only fertilized once per year (before I got it) in Jan using cow manure so I did fertilize a few tiems since getting it and noticed a few new needles much longer that the original ones it had. I can see the extended candles and buds you mention but very few long needles and a few on teh top taht I'm not sure if they are this years or not but yes they look green and moist, then again I'm sure it looked better couple months back and I can see some brown needles on tips of branches as well.
 
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maroun.c

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Right, soil, watering and... this is the species best for USDA 5a - 8b. I couldn't find better USDA map of your country.
I'm trying to find out the best watering schedule for coming months. guess this is crucial for this tree to make it till repot in spring and will try to find a suitable soil that works.
 

Tieball

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It sounds like you have a good approach and plan of action. Yes...your temperatures sound like my spring and autumn. That a beautiful photo of the area around. I don't know exactly what I thought it would like like there but forests of green were not at the top of my imagination.
 

petegreg

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I'm second who likes the picture. Those pines are probably from the group of Mediterranean red pines, P. pinea, halepensis and Co.
Googled some geographic facts and I'm excited finding the Mount Lebanon mountain range rising over 3000 m... I'm curious what pine species could be find growing there.
 

maroun.c

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It sounds like you have a good approach and plan of action. Yes...your temperatures sound like my spring and autumn. That a beautiful photo of the area around. I don't know exactly what I thought it would like like there but forests of green were not at the top of my imagination.
Thanks. It should start getting a bit colder going forward till end of Jan/Feb but will only got down to +/- 5 degrees Celsius on worse days where I live. We had -3 couple years back for 2-3 days couple years back but that was a record low.
Lebanon is a very green country it's very different than close desert countries. Actually the mountains make it that the other side countries are much dryer and less green.
 

maroun.c

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I'm second who likes the picture. Those pines are probably from the group of Mediterranean red pines, P. pinea, halepensis and Co.
Googled some geographic facts and I'm excited finding the Mount Lebanon mountain range rising over 3000 m... I'm curious what pine species could be find growing there.
Thanks.
3000 is the highest peak and used to be covered with snow all year long till few yrs back...
Forrests are mostly pine and few others but highest mountains are famous for Cedar, Cedrus Libani.
 
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It is difficult in the beginning to see the health of a tree, the future and the time you need to get there. This all should be considered when buying a tree. At first you look at the price. Now i would pay a bit more for better quality, it saves years of work.
 

maroun.c

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It is difficult in the beginning to see the health of a tree, the future and the time you need to get there. This all should be considered when buying a tree. At first you look at the price. Now i would pay a bit more for better quality, it saves years of work.
Very true and I have a different way to look at trees now which has improved after a few mistakes. As we're discussing it how would u deal with the aerial roots and style on this one after health issues have been handled?
 
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Most of the time health is the only thing i think about until it is healthy. The photo's are not level, so difficult to say what i would do. I'm not a fan of trees with aerial roots, but it might work. Removing them will leave you with reverse taper. Trunk is rather small so you might end up with less foliage. I believe the tree is showing you that, i hope some branches stay happy.
 

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