WSU Extension


Common Cultural : Needle tip necrosis
(revision date: 4/30/2013)

Needle tip necrosis can be caused by numerous factors that restrict the flow of water to the leaves, such as drought, salt damage (fertilization), root rot, cankers, excessive heat, and chemical injury. It is similar to marginal leaf necrosis, but occurs on needled plants such as pine, spruce, or fir and involves dieback of the needle from the tip downwards toward the stem.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Apply an organic mulch over the root zone to reduce water evaporation from the soil and to modify soil temperatures.
  • Fertilize moderately.
  • Improve drainage if the soil is soggy.
  • Irrigate plants as needed to keep soil moist.
  • Match plant species/varieties to the environment.
  • Proper planting techniques can prevent problems. Break up and spread matted circling roots to ensure good root growth into the surrounding soil.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Spruce needle tip necrosis
Photo by: R.S. Byther