Chlorosis of pine trees
Mike Mickelbart, Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture
& Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
Pines in this part of the country often struggle on our high pH
soils. Many species of pine require soils with a pH around 5.2
to 6.0. Many soils in Indiana are 7 or higher. When the pH is this
high, the nutrients required for healthy green growth in pines
are not available. The result is slowed growth and, more noticeably,
a yellowing of the needles.
Pine chlorosis is often more prevalent, or
more noticeable in late winter/early spring. While it is not
certain why this is the case, it is likely one of two reasons:
Soil is often saturated during this time due to rains or snow
melt. In saturated soils, there is not enough oxygen and the
plant cannot take up the nutrients that is needs for normal growth.
The plant is also preparing to grow. The new growth (still not
visible to the naked eye) may be taking nitrogen from the older
needles. This is common in many species, especially those that
grow in “flushes” like
To avoid this problem, make sure that you plant species that are
adapted to your soil (and other) conditions.
Click image to enlarge
Chlorosis on pine
Close up of chlorosis on pine