Natural Phenomenon

Alien crop circle? Or something else?

First, what is this photo trying to show? I took the picture and if I didn’t know, I am not sure that I would know what I was looking at.

Eastern white pine–in fall foliage shedding mode

Is this clearer? It might be–but it still might not look good. And while I can say that pine needles are never fun to try to clean up in the fall, what you are looking at is a perfectly normal and natural phenomenon.

People think that evergreens are exactly that–evergreen. But all evergreens lose some portion of their needles or foliage every year. Usually it is about one third of the old needles for needled evergreens like my pines, here.

In drought years, like this one, evergreens might lose a bit more foliage because they have been stressed by the drought. I expect that’s what’s happening with my pines this year.

For broad-leafed evergreens like azaleas, rhododendron, boxwood and holly, the same rules generally apply, but the timing may be different.

And of course, there are completely deciduous rhododendron–but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

So if you see an evergreen losing its foliage, take a closer look. It may be nothing more than the seasonal shedding of some old needles.

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