State: Don’t worry about the pine trees shedding needles

Kayakers on Upper Highland Lake in the DAR State Forest.

Kayakers on Upper Highland Lake in the DAR State Forest. Photo/Cheli Mennella


Concord Monitor

Published: 06-12-2024 10:08 AM

White pine trees in New Hampshire have been dropping needles this spring but the state Forest Health Bureau says not to be concerned: It’s the result of last year’s rainy late spring and summer and doesn’t pose danger to the trees.

 For the past 15 years, pine forests across the northeast have been affected by several fungi that attack pine needles, causing them to discolor and to cast off of the trees prematurely. Collectively, the group is referred to as “needlecast diseases.” The recurring disease currently affecting white pines has been named “white pine needle damage” or WPND by pathologists.

 “The fungi that cause white pine needle disease depend on above-normal precipitation during the spring and summer of the previous year, and we certainly had that in 2023, which is why WPND seems epic this year,” said Kyle Lombard, administrator of the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands’ Forest Health Bureau.

 WPND is highly unlikely to kill white pines. Instead, it’s a minor setback in the trees’ annual growth cycle, usually affecting only the most recent year’s needles.

 “Folks shouldn’t panic if they see white pines with orange or brown needles, or even if there are so many needles dropped that you can rake them up,” Lombard added. “Once the affected needles have cast off, new needles will start growing in their place, fully elongate in July and the trees will be green again in August.”

 For more information about white pine needle damage, visit