Hi there, yes it would seem that your conifers have really taken the
harsh winter quite severely. It is not uncommon for weather conditions
such as severe wind to cause significant damage. Snow sitting on them
for long periods does not help either. I have seen many cases of this
problem over the current years gardening.
'Garden Design, Landscaping and accessories from the Gardengirl'
> i have 5 conifers they are about 5 years old, 4 of them are 3/4 brown
> and 1 is completely brown, they were ok last year, could it have been
> the bad winter. what do you think.
My wild speculations :)
Wild Speculation #1
I have had winter burn on two conifers. They came out it.
Also the two conifers were topiaries which I think opened them up from
the cold. I should have covered them during winter.
Wild Speculation #2
If they are winter wind burned, the damage is usually on one side of the
tree. Then again could be going though a natural phase in shedding the
needles (If such things exist). I have seen my austrian pines go brown
then loose their needles and go back to looking fine a month later.
Wild Speculation #3
Poorly planted trees. Five years is about right when the trees start to
expand beyond the hole that was originally dug. Soil may be too hard for
the roots to break trough and become root bound in the hole. Are roots
turning upward and out of the soil? Roots should be going downward and
out. Does the tree limbs expand beyond the hole that was dug? If not,
not much hope for the trees.
Could try and drill one foot deep holes around the trees at the drip
line and beyond. Fill the holes with fertilizers. Get a tiller and
loosen the soil around the trees. Cut off any roots that have turned
If this fails, you will have lots of good mulch the next season.
When planting trees take a heavy pitchfork and puncture the side walls,
of the hole that was dug, this helps the roots to punch through the
heaver compacted soil so roots will grow out and down.
I had a couple that were planted by the road. After this last winter,
they too turned brown. We had to dig them out. I think it may have
something to do with the road salt. I live in a northern climate and
we did get a lot of snow last year.
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