I'm pretty new to gardening and I recently (~2 weeks ago) got a Pinus sylvestris 'Fastigiata' plant and I noticed that some needles started to yellow. Here are a few pics:-

ants tips of needles inner needles

The yellowing is mostly on the internal and lower needles, but there is also some yellowing on the tips of top needles, with the tips completely brown with some white stuff on them. And I also noticed the plant is full of ants, you can see it on one of the pictures.

Is this a problem that I need to do something about, and if yes, what exactly? Thanks.

  • Is this plant in a pot, and is the pot the original one, or have you repotted into something else? If you have repotted, what's the new pot like in terms of shape and size compared to the original one?
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 20:26
  • I got it two weeks ago, it's repotted, and the new one is fairly large. I don't know how big the original was, but it was transported in a much smaller pot.
    – Milan
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 21:15
  • 1
    looks like old age and the older pine needles are simply dropping out- that and possibly some sort of stress- pines never do well in pots, if the roots where damaged, often pines don't tell you their going to die for weeks afterward- real pain. Apart from it looking very dry- there are new shoots in these pictures some something good is going on...
    – olantigh
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Brown tips could be either over or under watering.

Pines tend to have sprawling root systems. To keep it happy in a pot you need to keep it moist, but not wet. If wet, roots drown. With fewer roots, the top doesn't get enough water. So the signs of too much vs not enough water can be similar.

The pine should be in a potting mix that is well drained. Do not use garden soil in a pot. It almost always has too much clay in it, and with the pot's small drain holes it will water log.

Scots pine needles live 2-4 years, then drop off. That part of the stem doesn't make new needles. This is why a pine looks like a collection of bottle brushes. So the interior needles aren't a concern.

Scots pine needles are in pairs. The base of each pair is in what looks like a celophane socket a few mm long. In your pics you can see these. At first glance they look like dry tips of young needles.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.