Winterburn injury on evergreens

Winter injury on evergreens can occur in any given winter but in particular it will show up when the previous fall was dry and the subsequent winter is open. Because of our conditions this past winter, we suspect there will be some cases of winterburn this spring.

Dehydration of the needles will cause them to lose their green color. More often than not, the plants will recover from this injury and begin to put on new growth the following spring.  We recommend that you don’t prune off the brown growth until new growth has started.  Bud tissue is the last thing to succumb to winter damage. You will commonly see new fresh growth appearing on the ends of the branches. Over time, this will cover up the brown areas and the plant will completely recover.

Watering as soon as you can in the spring is always recommended. Because the injury is not typically related to nutrients, fertilizing is not usually necessary.

Photos courtesy of Purdue Extension Office.